Hi y'all! Laura here, I decided to try out preserving crushed tomatoes using a fun and easy preservation manual (attached to this blog!). This activity took me about 2.5 hours with plenty of down time for cleaning during the longer processing steps. This would be a great activity for folks with kids who enjoy being in the kitchen and for people who are new to processing and would like step-by-step instructions. There are plenty of opportunities to integrate math and science lessons and hands-on opportunities for various cooking skills.
The photo to the right is a visual of the materials I used, I did not have a jar lifter and so I used tongs. I also did not have a water or pressure processing container, so I used a stock pot. My stockpot is relatively small, I was only able to fit 5 pint jars at a time. I used a small metal rack to keep the glass jars off the bottom of the pot while sanitizing and processing. I halved the recipe to avoid having to do multiple batches of processing in my small stock pot!
At first, I was dreading cooking and peeling the tomatoes. I have always enjoyed cooking, but peeling tomatoes and peppers has always felt like a pain. However! This recipe laid out a quick and painless way to peel the tomatoes: cut an x on the side without the stem, boil for 30-60 seconds (I boiled for 60-90 seconds because it seemed to take a bit longer for the skins to start to peel), and then dunk in ice water! I was able to quickly and easily peel the tomatoes. I was impressed and satisfied by how well this step worked.
It didn't take long to pack and process the jars. If you are doing this recipe in Madison, we are below 1000 ft in altitude, so our processing time is 35 minutes. After 12 hours of cooling, I noticed that the cans had a solid seal. I look forward to using these crushed tomatoes in a soup or chili come winter!
Check out the recipe below. Let us know if you liked canning or want to learn how to can specific items!