I’m up to my eyeballs in the summers harvest. I’ve had three huge canning days and I hope to have at least one more so I can put up just a few more things before the weather changes.
Without a doubt, tomatoes are my favorite thing to preserve. Whether it’s whole tomatoes, my “special” marinara sauce or these crushed tomatoes with dried herbs, I use them in everything. Once the snow starts falling, I pull out my slow cooker and don’t put it away until March. I make soups, stews, pot roasts, chicken dishes and you know what? They all usually require a can of diced or crushed tomatoes and nothing beats the ones I can myself when they are at their freshest. It’s hard to go back to canned tomatoes when you’ve preserved your own. So every summer for the last few years, I’ve dedicated at least two days just to preserve tomatoes. I know it seems like a lot of work (because it is) but it’s totally worth it. I promise!
While obviously not as versatile as a plain crushed tomato, I picked two spice blends that lend themselves well to the majority of cooking I do. The “Italian” version is nothing more than a little salt and some dried Italian spice blend. The “Mexican” version is a blend of oregano, coriander, chili powder, cumin and dehydrated garlic.
I can’t wait for the weather to start using my goods. I hoard all my canned stuff until the snow falls!
Do you do any canning? What’s your favorite thing to preserve?
This recipe was adapted for high altitude. My kitchen sits just above 7000 feet where this recipe was tested. If you live at sea level and up to 3000 feet, process for only 40 minutes.
I doubled the recipe so I got a total of 6 quarts. I did three with the Italian spice blend and two with the Mexican spice blend.
- 12 cups peeled, seeded & quartered tomatoes (roma if you can find them)
- bottled lemon juice per quart
- kosher salt
- preferred Spice Blend:
- combine 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning blend, 1 tablespoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
- combine 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon coriander and 1 teaspoon seasoned salt.
- Fill a stainless steal pot that is large enough to hold 3 quart size mason jars without touching and will cover jars by at least two inches with water. Bring water to a boil.
- Wash and sterilize mason jars; keep jars in hot water until ready to use.
- In a separate small pan, warm lids in hot (not boiling) water to sterilize and soften seal.
- Prepare the desired spice blend and set aside- see below for spice blend measurements.
- Place tomatoes in a large stainless steel saucepan- it's best not to crowd or layer the tomatoes so the largest pan you have will work the best. Using a large slotted spoon or potato masher, gently crush the tomatoes so the juices release and the tomatoes are 'crushed'. Add just enough water to cover the tomatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring gently. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.
- Before packing tomatoes into each jar, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to each hot jar. Add 1 tablespoon of of chosen spice blend. Pack hot tomatoes into prepared jars to within 1/2-inch of the top of jar. Ladle just enough of the hot tomato juice/liquid to cover the tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by poking either a plastic knife or a wooden skewer into the sides of the jars. Adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more liquid. Wipe the rim clean with a clean, wet paper towel. Remove lids from water and center on lid. Screw band down, taking care it's not too tight- fingertip tight is sufficient.
- Place jars in canner, making sure they are completely covered in water. Bring to a boil and process for 60 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.