Saturday Pam brought home 30 pounds of canning tomatoes from the farmers market. Canning tomatoes are the blemished and bruised tomatoes of the tomato market. First thing in the morning we had put 18 quart jars in the dishwasher to clean and sterilize. I don’t know why it’s not called jarring?
The first step of the preparation process is to cut out the stems and any rough or bruised spots on the tomatoes. Second we drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into boiling water to parboil them and loosen their skins. From the boiling water we drop them into an ice bath to make them cool enough to handle. We pick them out of the ice bath and pull off their skin. For 30 lbs. Of tomatoes this takes a good amount of time.
We then squish or crush all the tomatoes. Crush tomatoes are then packed into the jars. A teaspoon of salt is added to the top of each jar. Tomato juice from the squishing bowl is added up to about one half inch from the mouth of the jar. Then with a wooden skewer I poke around inside the jar to release any air bubbles. More juice is added if necessary. Lids are applied and the enclosed jars are placed in boiling water at least an inch over the top of the lid. This goes on for twenty minutes. Saturday the only pot we had that was deep enough for this step only holds four jars at a time. (Since then we bought a canning bath. (A large pot big enough to hold 8 jars at a time with an internal rack to use to lift them in and out.)
There is great fun in this process but the real joy comes throughout the year when we have wonderful fresh cooking tomatoes that we canned ourselves.
And if this wasn't great enough on Sunday afternoon we made two quarts of pesto with fresh basil from our garden.