So This is How I Do Tomatoes

2014-08-14 14.06.09I harvested this two days ago.  Yes, all of it.  At once.  In Madeline’s beach pail.

Why does a three year old need a beach pail that large?

I digress.

These beauties are San Marzano tomatoes.  They are a special type of plum tomatoes that are an heirloom breed directly from Italy.  And they make the best tomato sauce.


I scored the seeds from my dad who still saves seeds like they did in the old country (which is, for the record, Italy, in this instance).  You can, however, buy San Marzano seeds online pretty easily from any seed catalog.

The reason these beauties are so good for sauce is they are more flesh than seeds and goo, and their skin is so thin you hardly notice it’s there.  Which is why canning them is sooooo much easier.  Take a peek at what I did:

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1.  Score the stem or remnant of stem out of the tomato.

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2.  Cut the tomato in half parallel to where the stem was.

2014-08-14 14.21.493.  Scoop the seeds and goo into a separate (garbage) bowl.  Don’t discard these yet, because you can save the seeds if you want to!

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4.  Cut the tomato halves into four pieces each.  Then put them into a clean, hot canning jar.

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5.  Keep putting in cut tomatoes until you fill the jar about a third.  Then smash those tomatoes down.  Squish them, if you will.  Use a wooden spoon or a clean fist.

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6.  Continue filling the jar with cut tomatoes, squishing down every third or so of the jar.  Fill to near the top, but leave about 1/2 inch of “head space” (room).  Carefully put the lid and ring on the jar.

7.  Process your jars (hopefully you have more than one, otherwise it’s a waste of energy!):

  • Boil water in large, tall pot.
  • Using a canning basket or rings twist-tied together, place jars into pot carefully so that the bottoms of the jars don’t directly touch the bottom of the pot.
  • Leave jars in for 15 minutes.
  • Remove jars carefully and allow to cool, preferable upside down, on a kitchen towel.

When it is time to use these tomatoes for sauce (which you don’t have to, you could eat them chopped and yummy), just use a food mill or a food processor to make your sauce BEFORE you cook the tomatoes.

With this method, your tomatoes are only cooked once (in the jar processing stage) before you make them into sauce or eat them.  Other methods cook tomatoes two or three times (to remove skin, etc.) before you use them for your food.  Cooking the tomatoes less means that, of course, they will taste much fresher, and they will retain much more nutrition.

Happy Canning!



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