No pantry would be complete without home canned tomatoes :) I can "raw pack" and "stewed" for many future meals. If you think you don't need a pressure canner then canning tomatoes will make you change your mind. Processing them in a pressure canner for only ten minutes is so much nicer than 85 minutes in a hot water bath!
Step 1: Boiling Water
Start out with lots of tomatoes. It doesn't matter if they have blemishes, marks, or whatever, most of them will be used. Wash them up but do get rid of any that are in really bad shape.
Drop them into boiling water for about 30 seconds or so. Small batches at a time.
Step 2: Ice Water
Remove them from the boiling water and drop into cold ice water. This helps the skins peel right off.
Step 3: Time to Peel
When you get a whole sink full it's time to slip the skins off. Most times the bad parts will come right off with the skins, if not then simply cut out the bad areas.
Step 4: Core
I then take a small cheapy knife and cut out the core. Check the bottom and remove it if it hasn't already slipped off with the skin.
Cut them into quarter size pieces. You can leave them whole, half, or whatever size you prefer.
Step 5: Headspace
All jars should be filled leaving a 1 inch headspace, adjust if necessary.
Step 6: Lemon Juice
Once all your jars are filled it's time to add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. This is a must because tomatoes are considered "low acid."
Step 7: Coarse Salt
Add 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. The salt is optional but it does enhance the flavour.
Step 8: Tomato Juice
Once I have all my jars filled with tomatoes I pour in canned tomato juice so my tomatoes don't end up looking watery. This is optional. Yes I could make my own juice but I find it much easier to buy the cans :) I used about 2 and a half cans for 24 quarts of tomatoes.
Step 9: Remove Air Bubbles and Clean Rims
Take a plastic knife and run it around the inside of the jar to get rid of the air bubbles and pour in more tomato juice if necessary.
Wipe the rims with a hot paper towel until they are squeaky clean. Check for any stray seeds.
Step 10: Hot Lids
Bring water to a boil in a pot, turn heat off and add as many lids as you need. After 10 minutes place on your clean jars, screw on bands (finger tight, do not over tighten!), and put them in your pressure canner. Never place cold jars into boiling water (or vice versa) because they will break. Remember cold jars=cold water / hot jars=hot water, so add your water, then your jars, and then turn on the heat.
Tip: After adding about two inches of water to my pressure canner I add a few glugs of vinegar because we have hard water and it keeps the white off the jars. Place lid on pressure canner.
Step 11: Processing
Don't forget to vent your pressure canner. When the canner is up to pressure, process at 10 pounds for 10 minutes. Turn off heat after ten minutes and wait 'until the pressure drops to zero before removing lid. Remove jars, and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals, remove rings, wash in hot soapy water, and sit back to admire all the work you've done :)