Canning is pretty freaky. Every time I thought about doing it, I was convinced I'd kill myself or someone else with botulism from improper canning practices. Perhaps because I didn't really grow up with it? My mom once canned strawberry jam, I snuck a large sip of the foamy, starwberry-y, sugary stuff she was skimming off, and felt an immediate sugar rush followed by an ill stomach for the rest of the day. And that was the extent of my exposure to the process.
So I was super stoked when I saw the talk about it a few weekends ago. I mean, here was a live person that I could ask all my questions and reassure me! She even demonstrated the process.
I left the event thinking: "Why was I afraid of doing THAT? THAT is easy." and "I can't wait to try this!" Talk about a successful presentation!
Thus, when I got a ridiculous amount of tomatoes in my CSA and no fresh ideas for them (that's a lie. I didn't feel like eating them), I decided to give this whole thing a try.
Here's what I used:
-- Jars (not like leftover pasta or jam jars. Like Ball Mason jars. I got mine at Shoppers near where they sell charcoal. But Freecycle works for the less impatient) with seals & lids
-- Large pot (I used a pasta pot)
-- Smaller pot (for cooking tomatoes. I used our smaller sauce pan)
-- Spoon for putting tomatoes in jar
-- Rubber tipped tongs (or canning jar grabber thingy. I couldn't find one of those & the rubber-tipped tongs worked pretty well.)
Here's what you do: (from Putting Food By)
Boil enough water to cover your jars & their lids & seals. My pot fits 2 jars, so I put 2 in even though I wasn't sure how many I would need.
When water is boiling, carefully add in jars with lids and seals. Boil for 10 minutes. This sanitizes everything.
Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes & put into a pot. Bring to a boil
When tomatoes reach a boil, cook for additional 5 minutes. They'll be cooking more later on, so it's OK if they aren't totally cooked through.
Back to the jars: When your 10 minutes is up, remove them from the water and add 1Tbsp of white vinegar into quart jars & 1/2Tbsp of white vinegar into pint jars. If the tomatoes have cooked for their 5 minutes, spoon into jars with vinegar in them. Leave about 1/2-1 of space in the top of the jar. Seal.
Make sure the large pot of water is back to a boil.
Return jarred, sealed tomatoes to the boiling water and cook for 35 min (pints) or 45 min (quarts)
When that's done, remove from water and let cool (don't put in fridge or anything. Just set aside). When it is totally cool, you shouldn't be able to remove the seal. This means: SUCCESS!
Side notes: I found a tea tray/The-Tray-I \-Eat-In-Front-of-The-TV-On tray lined with a clean kitchen towel a great way to stay organized, move hot jars around the kitchen and minimize mess. I used an oven mitt to lift the cooked, filled jars from the hot water...the tongs were just too cumbersome for this.