We have an abundance of tomatoes, and I mean abundance. This was by design. If there is anything we use on a continual basis (almost daily) it’s tomatoes. I use them in stews, soups, sauces, casseroles, and so on. A big goal this year was to try to preserve enough tomatoes so I wouldn’t have to buy any canned tomatoes at the store. We’ll see if I can accomplish this. We have canned a few jars of whole tomatoes so far and today I finished processing 7 jars of spaghetti sauce. I always recommend using a tried and true recipe when you are canning. The potential for botulism should keep you alert and on guard against going too far outside the box when you are canning. It always seemed to me that tomatoes should have enough acid in themselves to be pretty safe for water bath canning. Unfortunately the truth is that they are right on the line so adding acid is necessary, don’t skip the step of adding lemon juice to the jars when you are ladeling your sauce into the jars. Here’s the recipe I followed:
25 pounds tomatoes
4 large green peppers, seeded
4 large onions, cut into wedges
4 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste (I made my own tomato paste, find recipe here)
1 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (I used 2 jalapeños finely chopped)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
In a Dutch oven, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, place tomatoes, one at a time, in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove each tomato and immediately plunge in ice water. Peel and quarter tomatoes.
In a food processor, cover and process green peppers and onions in batches until finely chopped. I did this by hand, but feel free to use a food processor if you want.
In a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, green pepper mixture, tomato paste, oil, sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves.
Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to each of nine hot 1-qt. jars. Ladle hot mixture into jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 40 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 8 quarts