We’ll begin with a disclaimer. Unless you grow your own, canning tomatoes can be expensive. With that said, the flavor of home preserved tomatoes is out of this world and something you’ll really appreciate, say, in the middle of winter. My recommendation? Buy more than you think you’ll need and prepare for the zombie apocalypse!

As with all of Kris’ canning recipes we suggest checking out the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation if you’re not sure what you’re doing. But once you get the hang of it, using a water bath canner is super easy.

We’ll keep this recipe simple since, well, we’re only canning tomatoes. My seasonings (oregano and crushed red pepper) can be omitted and we will caution you against adding more. The flavor of herbs and spices will intensify and may become unpleasant. Finally, we specify citric acid (available in all grocery stores) over lemon juice since it is easier to measure and completely neutral in flavor. Lemon juice will work just fine as well.

Peel the Tomatoes

Prepare a large pot of boiling water. Separately prepare a large bowl of ice water and a second, empty bowl. Add a few tomatoes at a time to the boiling water. As soon as the skin breaks transfer them to the ice water and remove the peel. Place the peeled tomatoes in the empty bowl.

Kris’ Tip

To make peeling easier cut a small X into the blossom end of the tomatoes before submerging in boiling water.

Dice the Tomatoes

Remove the core and any blemished spots from the peeled tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes.

Kris’ Tip

Crush peeled tomatoes in a colander placed over a large pot to separate pulp from juice. This step will ensure your final product isn’t too watery. The reserved tomato juice can be canned separately.

Cook & Smash

Add about 2 cups of diced tomatoes to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Smash the tomatoes with a potato masher and continue to stir until juices are released and begin to boil. Add the remaining tomatoes and bring the entire contents of the pot to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Prepare the Jars

Add the required amounts of citric acid, salt and, if you’d like, oregano and crushed red pepper. Ladle the hot tomatoes into the jars, leaving a good half-inch headspace between the tomatoes and each jar’s rim.

Process the Jars

Wipe clean the rims of each jar and fit the jars with their lids. Process for 35 minutes (pints) or 45 minutes (quarts), allowing them to sit in the canner (with the burner off) for an additional 5 minutes before removing.

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