Aunt Dottie and my grandmother were both avid gardeners. Although I had no interest in learning how to can from them when I was young, I found myself following in their footsteps.
This year I'm super excited about my garden. Last year, everything sucked. My soil was in a terrible state and nothing grew right. All my tomatoes had serious rot. I tried to correct the ship last year, but alias - it was in vain.
But THIS year! Oh my gosh!
I added a bag of manure to each bed and organic fertilizer. Plus I added some organic tomato food to each tomato plant. I planted 4 roma tomato plants and waited. I also have various pepper plants, broccoli, cucumbers and green beans.
I was SOOO relieved to see my lovely tomatoes come in with NO rot.
I broke out the canning jars and put them in the dishwasher to sterilize them. You can also stick them in the oven at 180 for about 10 minutes. Or..... if your water bath is nice and hot, stick them in the water for a few minutes.
Then I started my pots.
One for the water bath, one for blanching the tomatoes, one for cooking the tomatoes, and the little one for sterling the jar lids.
I blanched the tomatoes for about a minute.
Then stop the cooking with a cold water shock.
The skins came right off.
I quartered them and added the ingredients, garlic, green peppers, onion, and oregano. I followed this recipe, the exact measurements are here.
The longer you cook them the thicker they will become. I let mine cook for about 60 mins to reduce the water from the tomatoes in the sauce.
Fill them up leaving about a 1/2 inch. I also added 1/4 teaspoon of Ball Citric Acid additive which replaces the lemon juice. This increases the acidic level of the tomatoes. If you want to read more about that, here is an interesting article.
By now your pot of water should be ready, near boiling point. The water should be about an inch higher than the jars. Put the lid on and let boil for 20 minutes.
I ended up with 8 jars of delicious Italian stewed tomatoes. I've already used them in a few recipes. Sauce tastes so much better when it is home made.
And .... if you're way cool - you'll add these labels to your jars. I have already used up the jars with labels, but it's a nice way to label the date and type of tomatoes. I have washed these jars with the labels in the dishwasher over and over and they still remain awesome.