On Tuesday I took my brood out to Lancaster for the day. We needed to get some things from the grocery out there and of course take a scenic drive through some Amish country. We stopped at a couple of farm stands and picked up some fall decor. I was also on the hunt for some cheap tomatoes. Everything I have canned so far with tomatoes has been from my own garden. The season is winding down and I know we don't have enough for everything we needed this year. I spotted a bushel of seconds at a stand for 8 dollars. Score! They were in pretty good shape, just covered in stink bug bites and really ripe!So first thing Wednesday morning I started turning them into diced tomatoes for our winter soups and stews. Here's how to do it.
First remove the skins by blanching for 60 seconds. The skins should start to split.Take them out and place them in ice water to cool them quickly. I keep old peanut butter containers and freeze big ice blocks that take longer to melt than small pieces of ice. Core and peel the skins. I also had to cut out a few worm spots, I was working with seconds so I expected that.Dice them up. Now you are ready to can them. Wash and sterilize the jars so they are hot. I keep mine in the oven at about 170 degrees, I have broken so many jars while canning over the years from not having hot jars. I do have a lot of old jars and jars from yard sales but I find that it's the new ones that break the most. They just don't make them like they used too! Add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart, and fill with the tomatoes. Wipe off rims, and tighten lids and rings.Place in water bath canner, making sure jars are covered with one to two inches of water. If not add more. Bring up to a boil and time for 45 minutes.Remove from canner and place on a cookie sheet, towel, or cutting board. This way if they leak a bit it won't be a huge mess. Then listen for the pop of the jar sealing. It has to be one of the best sounds of summer. If it doesn't seal you can store those jars in the fridge. If you are careful it won't happen very often. After they have set about 24 hours remove rings, rinse off jars, and store in a cool dark, place. From one bushel of tomatoes I got 16 quarts of diced tomatoes. I think that should last most of the winter. Still trying to figure out my totals on some things.