I realize I’m making this seem like a war, and frankly, sometimes it feels like one. Tomatoes are threatening to take over my kitchen and the most useful way to preserve them is one of the more complicated. Basically, I’ve taken you through the easy methods (boozy fruit and drying) to the intermediate (jams and plum sauce), but now it’s time to tackle something more advanced: crushed tomatoes. Yes, it sounds easy, and yes, it doesn’t require many ingredients, but it does require more prep than the other recipes, since the skins and seeds of tomatoes can taste bitter and a lot of people don’t like the texture. To keep it from being overwhelming, I suggest tackling this with a small batch like this (scale up if you like!) or bribing a friend to join you. However, that being said, I find it more than worth the effort to have such fresh tasting jarred tomatoes all winter long.
Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- 5 lbs Roma or San Marzano tomatoes
- 4 glass pint jars with lids and rings
- 4 tbsp commercial lemon juice, divided
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- Run jars through a dishwasher on the hottest setting, or put on a cookie sheet in a 225 F oven.
- Bring a small pot of water to boil, drop in lids and turn water off.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. In small batches of a pound or so, drop tomatoes in boiling water, leave for 1 minute, then remove and put tomatoes in an ice bath in order to loosen skins. If possible, keep water simmering for the water bath.
- Remove the skins of the tomatoes, then squeeze over a large bowl or in a sink to remove seeds (these things can squirt so watch out!) Transfer naked, squished tomato to another large pot and if desired, tear tomato into pieces.
- When all the tomatoes are prepped, put over medium high heat, and bring to a simmer.
- Ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 in of head space, then add 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt to each jar, close with lids and seals.
- Process jars in a hot water bath for 30 minutes.
And a bonus step: sit down and have a cold beer.