Yes, I know it’s easier to can whole tomatoes. Yes, I know there are mixes out there to make spaghetti sauce. Yes, Yes Yes. But, my family doesn’t like chunks, in particular tomato chunks. So, yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon canning tomato juice. Here’s a rundown of my method.
Assembly tools. Tomatoes, jars, lids, lid screws(?), canner, food mill, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter. Not pictured: towels.
Check on the bread in the over.
Wash and dry many, many tomatoes.
I like to work in an assembly line; cut and core, drain, and then into the pot they go.
Boil down, recipes will try to tell you this will only take 15 minutes or so. This may be true with a mini batch but this big o’pot took about 35 minutes.
Next is the real fun, seriously it’s my favorite part. Running it all through the food mill.
Yummy. Doesn’t that look like a raw meatloaf?
Next 1 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice in each of the slightly warmed jars. They always start out warm but by the time I’ve dried them all then gotten the salt and juice in them, they’re barely over room temperature. So far I haven’t had any breakage so I guess it’s okay.
I’m missing a picture for the next step, but it’s pretty simple. Put the juice back into the pot and bring to a boil. Let it boil about five minutes before turning off the heat and letting it simmer.
Meanwhile, put the lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a boil. This helps soften the rubber seals so they fit nice and snug on the jars. At the same time you’ll want to get your canner boiling. Leaving the lid on the canner helps to bring the heat up faster.
Once the canner starts to show signs of a strong boil go ahead and begin filling the jars. Wipe your rims before putting on the dried lids. Generally I fill all the jars, then wipe all the rims, place all the lids, then screw them all down-lightly.
Once the canner is at a full rolling boil gently drop down your canning rack into the water. Place each jar in, one at a time, being careful not to slosh or tip from side to side. It is important to keep the jars vertical from this point on.
Once all the jars are in the canner, replace the lid, and bring back to a full boil. Continue to boil for 40 minutes if you’re dealing with quarts, 30 for pints.
ALMOST FORGOT- I can never get the water level right. Since it has to be one inch over the tops of the jars I always keep a kettle of boiling water at the ready so that I have water to add to the canner if necessary.
After the 40 minutes, carefully remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel. Remember keep them vertical! Place them somewhere they can just sit undisturbed. Once they’ve cooled I go ahead and place them in the cabinet. Yay, all done.
I’m sure the obvious question is why go through the trouble when it isn’t always saving me any money. Simple answer, because I like to know what I’m feeding my family and if I can give them something wholesome that I made, I will.