My sister recently asked Peter and I separately what we thought was the most important thing we put up each year. We both answered without hesitation, "Tomatoes!" Home-canned tomatoes keep that fresh flavor without a tinny, metallic or overly sharp aftertaste that you often find in commercially canned tomatoes. I am sure you have heard this many times from those who put up their own food, but ... if you put up nothing else, you should do your own tomatoes.
Remember how much I loathe peeling tomatoes? Let me share how I peeled 20 lbs. of them quickly and easily, far faster than any other method I have ever used before:
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash and remove any blemishes from your tomato then slice it in half and place it on your baking sheet cut side down, filling your first sheet. Put it under the broiler and char the skin of the tomatoes until it is blackened.
While this is happening, prep your second baking sheet with tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes are well charred, remove sheet one and let them cool just enough to be able to handle them easily. Pop in sheet two. Pull the skin right off the charred tomatoes on sheet one and place them into a large bowl, saving all juices. Repeat until all tomatoes are done.
You will find that in the time it takes you to cool, peel and transfer the charred tomatoes, slice fresh tomatoes and refill the baking sheet, the ones under the broiler will be done. Voilà, peeled tomatoes in record time!
You can put up any amount of tomatoes using this method. You can increase the quantity of tomatoes to tailor this for your own needs and you will know how to prep each jar for safe canning. Quick tip: When I am putting up quart jars of tomatoes, I always prep one extra pint jar to catch any overflow. Process the pint jar for the same amount of time as you do quarts.
P.S. — My 20 lbs. gave me 9 quarts this year. Some years that would only be 7; it varies by year and tomato variety.
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