Sunday, August 15, 2010

Can Jam Crushed Tomatoes

And in August our Can Jam our assignment was tomatoes. II would say that I have been waiting all year to can tomatoes, but it is really since mid February when last year's share of 60 lbs ran out. Sadly though, with our unusually cold weather, tomatoes are not ready in the Bay Area. I have given up on getting tomatoes from my garden and even places like Mariquita have said that it will be September before we have a true harvest. But, I was determined, and the one week they were available scored a box of their early girls. Since I knew we would be doing a lot more tomatoes in September I opted for the relatively quick and easy option of crushed tomatoes, based on recipes from Eugenia Bone's Well-Preserved and Ball's.

Crushed Tomatoes
20 pounds ripe, unblemished tomatoes (I used Early Girls)
2 teaspoons salt per quart (14 for me)
3 1/2 teaspoons citric acid (1/2 tsp per quart)

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Drop the tomatoes into the water, count for 30 seconds and remove. Cool by running under cold water in your sink.

Slit the tomato skins and peel them off. They should come off easily. I strongly suggest bribing an 8-year-old to help with this process. Core tomatoes and squeeze out their seeds. I was fairly lazy about this step. Place tomatoes in a large pan. I needed two for the quantity I was working with. Crush leaving some chunks. I used a potato masher and re-bribed the 8 year old for help!

Heat the tomatoes and boil gently for 10 minutes. I then removed some of the juice, which you can can and process (40 minutes) or simply refrigerate. For a woman who has never liked tomato juice, this is a revelation. It makes for an amazing Bloody Mary, especially when garnished with home pickled green beans!

Place 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 tsp citric acid in each quart jar. Ladle in tomatoes, allowing 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the rims and turn the bands until fingertip tight. Process for 45 minutes. Spend much of that time wondering why you have just not given in and purchased a pressure canner. Promise 8 year old that Mama will be done "soon."

I ended up with 7 quarts tomatoes and 3 quarts tomato juice.

The 8-year-old ended up with a trip to her beloved main library and an ice cream cone.


  1. Nice bribing! And beautiful tomatoes!

  2. Nice tomatoes! 8-year-olds come in handy sometimes, don't they?

  3. Some day the eight year old will thank you. I was about eight when my father decided my siblings and I were an in-house cannery and everything I know about canning I learned from him.

  4. Good job on the bribe! Canning tomatoes takes so much work! And although I look forward to the bounty of this time of the year, as well, I am already tired mid-way through the season!

    I follow along with the canjam, here's my August recipe for peach salsa!

  5. Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to 40 more pounds of tomatoes later in the month!