Canning Tomatoes (no peeling required!)
I hate peeling tomatoes. Which means that I also hate canning tomatoes.
Fortunately, this year I have found a better way, with ZERO peeling required! It takes a little more time than the traditional tomato canning process, but it is almost all “inactive time”, meaning that you can walk away and let the tomatoes do their thing, without any work on your part!
All it requires is a bunch of tomatoes, some lemon juice, a large pot (or pots), and water bath canning equipment.
First, core and cut your tomatoes into big chunks. I cut my Romas in half, my full size tomatoes in quarters, and threw in some whole cherry tomatoes.
Fill up your biggest pot(s) with the tomatoes, cover, and cook on the lowest setting for 24-36 hours. I have been doing 36 hours myself. Just stir occasionally, and keep a general eye on them. (I totally went grocery shopping while these were cooking. They are very low maintenance.) *You can also add some sauteed onions and garlic if you want to make spaghetti sauce. Please don’t add other vegetables or meat because it alters the acidity too much.
Here are the tomatoes after about 24 hours.
Once your tomatoes have cooked the desired amount of time, fill up your canner with water. *NOTE- I am using the water bath method, which I feel alters food less in the canning process, but you can also use a pressure canner.
Thanks to my little brother, I had an awesome idea of how to fill my canner, which won’t fit in my sink. Those pranks you used to always pull on me have payed off, Abe!!! Notice the rubber band around the sprayer?
Make sure you have enough water to cover whatever size jars you will be canning.
Set the canner on the stove top, cover with the lid, and bring to a rolling boil while you are processing the tomatoes.
Wash your jars, and fill them with hot water to keep them warm. (this keeps them from breaking when you ladle the hot tomatoes into them.) Boil a small pan of water, and place the lids and rings in it to sanitize.
Now you are ready to process the tomatoes. They are going to be pretty hot, so be careful as you are doing the next steps.
I mostly use “crushed” or “diced” style tomatoes, so I chose to run the tomatoes through the food processor for a few seconds. You can leave them just like they are for a chunky style, run all or part of them in a food processor for a crushed style, or in a blender for a minute or so for more of a tomato sauce.
UPDATE! A reader gave me the idea to use a hand operated food mill to get a crushed consistancy for the tomatoes. I am now using that method instead of the food processor. It also happens to remove the skins!!
Once you have your desired consistency, dump the warm water out of the jars, add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint, and 2 Tablespoons in each quart jar. Using a Canning Funnel, fill your jars with the tomatoes, leaving about 1/2 head space. Place the jars in the rack of the canner, lower into the boiling water, cover with the lid, and process. Where I live, I need to process the pints 35 minutes, and the quarts 40 minutes. Check here to see what the processing time for your altitude is. *If you are processing a large amount of jars, you can fill them all up, and keep them warm in the oven (around 170 degrees) while you wait to process them in batches.
Once the jars are processed, raise the canning rack, remove the jars with a jar grabber, and place on a towel on the counter top. Leave them completely alone until they are cool. As they cool, you should here each lid “pop” as it seals. Once they have cooled and sealed, you can move them to wherever you are storing them for long term use.
So there you go. I am all about taking unnecessary steps out of making healthy, real, and affordable food for my family, and this definitely saves me SO much time and work!