This is the beginner’s canned tomato recipe, requiring no special equipment.It’s the most useful and the most versatile type of tomato to have on the shelf. Substitute one quart of home-canned tomatoes for a big can of grocery store tomatoes in any recipe. All the mashing and scooping is useful for two reasons: first, the tomatoes will be less likely to separate from the liquid in the jar (only an aesthetic concern). Second, keeping count of the quarts that go into the pot helps plan for the number of jars needed.
- Blanch, core, and peel tomatoes using the same technique used to peel peaches on page 79. Halve them, scoop out seeds and gel with your fingers, and dispose. Then crush and tear tomatoes using your hands, letting crushed fruit fall into a medium mixing bowl. When you have 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, add them to a 5-quart or larger heavy, nonreactive pot, bring to a boil, and crush with a potato masher to generate some juices. Continue to add crushed tomatoes 2 cups at a time, mashing and heating until the tomatoes start to boil. When they have all been added, bring batch to a brisk boil for 5 minutes.
- Ladle hot tomatoes into the warm, prepared jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add ¼ teaspoon citric acid (or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice) to each pint jar. If using salt, add it now: ½ teaspoon per pint jar. Check headspace. You want ½ inch, so add more tomatoes if necessary. Process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes. Let jars rest in canning kettle for 10 minutes after processing to prevent siphoning.