The first caveat: I am no pro at canning, but it is one of those things my grandma taught me and I like the idea of keeping the tradition alive. Second caveat: get the bible of canning. It is simple and easy to use and if you follow it carefully it will keep your family from getting sick. Although tomatoes are probably one of the safest foods to can because they are full of acid and acidic foods equals safety. Low acidic vegetables, like green beans are much more dangerous and all directions must be fastidiously followed. You can be a little more sloppy with tomatoes, which is good, 'cause sometimes I can be pretty sloppy!
1. Wash your tomatoes. For tomato sauce I use all the variety my garden has to offer.I discovered something peculiar while washing the tomatoes. See the above tomatoes. They floated. See the pear and cherry ones below... they sank. What is with this? Any guesses?
2. Put tomatoes through a food mill/sauce maker. You just slice the larger tomatoes in half and throw the little ones in whole and turn the handle and out pops the sauce in one spot and the seeds and peel in another. Soooo easy. Of course, sometimes I also make stewed tomatoes, which entails peeling all the tomatoes. UGH. I tend to make a lot of sauce. It comes in handy for sauces, soups and stews. And it is easy. Did I mention it is easy?
3. Cook it down. It may take a pot or two, or three, depending on how many tomatoes you have. I had two pots full. You cook it over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is the thickness you want. I usually shrink the volume by half. So what was a full pot is now half a pot. It takes quite a few hours and you can wander around doing other chores. Or reading a book and drinking a latte.
4. Fill clean jars with hot water and place new lids in hot water as well.5. Fill jars with sauce (after dumping out hot water,of course!) add1 tablespoon lemon juice to each pint and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to each quart. This just assure the acidity of your sauce. No botulism for me! But did I mention I am sloppy? See my mess.
6. Clean off top of jar with rag and then place the hot lid on top and secure with band.
7. Place in hot water bath or pressure cooker. I did both. For the hot water bath you put jars in a large pot, completely covering jars with water and let them boil for 35 minutes. You should always follow your own pressure cooker's instructions. For mine, you add 4 quarts water and cook at 6 pounds pressure for 20 minutes.
I took all of the peels and seeds out to my chickens. I thought this picture showed clearly how cocky Mr. Red Rooster is. What is it about roosters? Well, at least it leaves all the good stuff for the hens. They didn't waste any time chowing down.
Oscar, one of the barn cats, was very interested in the slop bucket until he saw what was in it. Poor kitty. Better luck tomorrow.