- 45 pounds of tomatoes
- Bottled lemon juice
Adapted from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
- Wash the tomatoes and cut away the core and blossom ends, plus any bad spots. Cut each tomato in half and then gently squeeze to remove the seeds. Cut each half into quarters and place in a large pot. Bring the pot to a simmer over medium-low to low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 20 minutes.
- Process the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the skins and any remaining seeds. Pour the tomato pulp back into the large pot and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Reduce until the sauce reaches the desired thickness. (This will take some time.)
- To process, start by sterilizing the jars: Place clean jars without lids into the canner on a rack so they do not touch the bottom. (If you don’t have a rack, place the rings on the bottom and set the jars on top.) Fill with water to two inches above the jars. Cover and heat to boiling, and then boil for 10 minutes. After that time, turn heat to low and keep the jars in the water until needed.
- Place the flat canning lids in a sauce pan off the heat and pour some of the liquid from the boiling pot over the top to cover. This will soften the rubber to help the lids seal.
- One at a time, remove a jar from the water. Add one tablespoon lemon juice to a pint jar, two tablespoons to a quart jar. Fill the jar with the hot tomato sauce, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. (Using a funnel helps.) Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp towel to clean off any drips, and then take a flat lid from the warm water and place on top. Screw on a ring until just tight.
- Once all the jars are filled, gently place them back into the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least one to two inches and the jars do not touch each other or the sides of the canner. Cover, bring the canner back to a boil, and process for 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.
- Remove the jars from the canner and place on a dry towel to cool completely, leaving one to two inches of space between the jars. You will hear the lids start to pop as they seal, but it may take some time. Let the jars cool 12 to 24 hours before checking the seal. If the ring band has loosed during processing, do not tighten. This could interfere with the sealing process.
- To check the seal on the cooled jars, press on the lid. If it springs back, the jar is not sealed. Also remove the ring and try to lift the lid with your fingertips. If it stays tight, the seal is good. If a jar doesn’t seal, just store the unsealed jar in the refrigerator and use it first. Also refrigerate any jar after it’s opened.