Every week, I cruise the Farm & Garden section in Craigslist to see if there are any edible offerings. In the past I've gotten large amounts of lemons, chestnuts, vegetables, and even chanterelle mushrooms for very low prices. Most of the items come from gardens of people who can't keep up with the harvest. Anyway, last week, a local family was selling 20 pounds of homegrown organic tomatoes for $5. What a steal!
Of course, I went and bought them, and I knew before I left the house that I was going to be canning them. A friend provided me with a really easy method. Basically, I put as many tomatoes as I could fit in my roasting pan - since I just have one pan, I had to do this in batches. I put them in the oven under the broiler until the skins started to turn black, about 10 to 15 minutes. Then I removed them from the oven and let them cool. While waiting for them to cool, I brought a large stock pot full of water to a boil and placed my canning jars in it. Once the tomatoes were cool enough to handle, the skins slipped right off, and I just broke the tomatoes up with my fingers in a large pot. I placed the pot on a stove and brought the tomato pulp to a boil, and let it simmer for about 7 minutes. The tomatoes were ladled into the hot, sterilized jars, sealed, and then placed in the boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Et voila! Canned tomatoes!
These will be a perfect base for sauces and any recipe calling for chopped tomatoes.
(Images: Kathryn Hill)