On Sunday afternoon, I was given a case of farmer's market tomatoes. As much as I would love to say that I grew these beauties myself, this is not the case. I do, however, know the farmer who did.
A case of ripe tomatoes means that I was going to be spending an afternoon in the kitchen canning said tomatoes. That's exactly what I did yesterday. For those of you who have never done this, this is what to do.
1. The easiest and fastest way to peel the tomatoes is to put them into a pot of boiling water for 30 - 45 seconds.
2. Take them out of the boiling water and drop them into a bowl of ice water.
3. This process causes the peels practically slide right off. I'm making chopped hot-pack tomatoes, so I core and roughly chop each tomato, removing any blemishes or soft spots.
4. Fill a large pot with the chopped tomatoes ... I use my favorite turquoise Paula Deen stock pot. Simmer the tomatoes, stirring them frequently, until they are hot and bubbling vigorously.
5. Ladle the hot tomatoes into sterilized jars. Seal jars with lids and rings, which have been simmering in a pot of water. Process in a water bath canner for 45 minutes (for these quart jars).
6. Use jar tongs to remove the jars to a cooling rack. For me, the most rewarding part of canning is hearing the 'pop' of the lids as the jars cool ... which indicates that the jar is sealed.
I started working on this at about 2:00 yesterday afternoon, and I was putting the last of the jars into the canner at 6:30. Not a quick process, by any means, but a very 'fruitful' one ... which yielded 17 gleaming quarts of tomatoes, ready to store and use in all sorts of recipes for the next year. It also resulted in tomato juice all over the kitchen and myself, and a mountain of dirty pots, bowls, and utensils. My sweet husband did all the dishes and cleaned the kitchen for me. By the time he was finished, the only evidence of the afternoon's activity was the hum of the dishwasher and the jars of hot tomatoes cooling on the counter.
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