Today, allow me to walk you through canning some tomatoes. I made pizza sauce from a store-bought packet. Shall we begin?
Assemble the things you'll need. In this case, a packet for your product if you do not yet know how to make it from scratch (starch, spices and beet powder for red color), 6 pounds of tomatoes, canning jars, lids and rings. (Not shown: 5 tablespoons of sugar)
The Pizza Sauce packet. Very easy, consistent results. These save me time, which I appreciate, because I do most of my canning after the kids go to bed. I do sort of feel bad about not just researching and finding a good recipe to use, but I also hate spending time on failed recipes. I'm torn. I use similar packets of spice for most of my canning: ketchup, salsa, pasta sauce, etc.
You will also need (a bit later) a jar grabbing tongs to lift jars into and out of boiling water, a jar filling funnel and a magnetic lid wand.
Ok, we need to peel the skin off the tomatoes. Set a big pot of water on to boil. Boiling the tomatoes for a short time and then dunking them in cold water makes the skins slip right off.
Also, get your lids and bands into another pot of water and set that on a low heat. You don't want to boil these, just warm them enough that the rubbery part of the lid flat become a bit more malleable. Also, at this point, you have over 30 minutes before you'll need these to be ready.
Also while you are waiting for the first pot to boil, fill a canning pot with your jars and cover them with water. We'll set this on the back burner to warm up while we simmer later on.
Put a container of cold or icy water in your sink. As the tomatoes come out of their time in the boiling pot, the much cooler water will not only stop them from cooking at that time, but will help the skins become even looser. Plus it's just no fun to peel a 200 degree tomato.
Put a layer of tomatoes into the rapidly boiling water and set the timer for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the cold water. Repeat these two steps until you have blanched all the tomatoes for your product.
After a moment to cool, slip the skins off your tomatoes.
Also, cut out the hard core from each tomato that has one, as well as any green shoulders or bad spots.
For this sauce, we puree. Put the tomatoes in batches into the blender and hit the button.
Measure approximately 10 cups of blended tomatoes
Add the measured tomato puree into the cleaned pot you were boiling them in earlier. Add the contents of the spice packet and any other ingredients you are told to. In this case, 5 tablespoons of sugar.
Stir, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit. Longer simmering time will just make it thicker, which can be needed for very watery tomatoes. Just eyeball it and if you need more time, don't stop after 25 minutes.
By this time your pot of jars is simmering, at least, if not boiling (right?), so you can begin canning the sauce. Lift out a hot jar.
Add hot pizza sauce to hot jars with your jar funnel, leaving the recommended amount of head space.
Capture a hot lid with your magnetic wand and place it on the jar after wiping any spilled product off the jar's top and threads. Wipe the stove later.
After filling all your jars, bring your canning pot to a rapid rolling boil and then begin timing 40 minutes for processing. Heat the water in the pan that had been holding the lids and rings to a simmer to use for topping off this pot as it evaporates.
After boiling the jars for 40 minutes under a couple inches of water, remove them from the pot and set them on the counter to cool until morning (24 hours is best). You'll know they are sealing as you will hear each lid POP. The next day you can wash off any hard water deposits and remove the bands if you like. The flat lids will stay vacuum sealed.