Class is in full swing at the Urban Farm, but there is still more produce than 68 students can handle. The first week of class I came home with another, somewhat smaller, bucket of tomatoes. I’m not really hurting for marinara sauce anymore and we are pretty stocked on ketchup. I decided it would be best to just simply can these guys as-is.

Canning tomatoes is pretty simple and takes far less time than preparing them into a marinara sauce. Just dip them in boiling water for 30-60 second to loosen the skins, then plunge into a sink of cold water. Peel them, cut out the core and quarter so they can fit into canning jars.

I drop a tablespoon of lemon juice into each quart jar to ensure there is a high acidity level. Slightly under-ripe tomatoes should have a good level of acidity, but these were quite ripe so I wanted the extra insurance. I then shoved in the tomatoes, pressing them gently so their juices began to fill the jar. No extra water was necessary, which I like.

After the jars were filled, lids were wiped and two-piece caps were adjusted, the quart jars went into the hot water bath canner for about an hour and fifteen minutes. They were cold, so the longer time was needed to heat them up properly.

I used a mix of meaty heirloom tomatoes, since that what we had excess of at the Farm. It included Orange Oxheart, Gold Metal, and a heart-shaped deep red Italian variety. They ended up looking really pretty in the jars together.

This is an easy way to work through a big batch of tomatoes if you don’t have the time for cooking them into something right away!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson