Canning tomatoes is no simple task. Below is the way to get the thickest tomato product with the least amount of cooking. Why go thick?  Well, you can always add water later when you cook with it, you need less jars (which cost money) and you need less shelf space for all those jars.

    Start with fresh tomatoes that you rinse well in your sink.

   Remove any green stems that you have and cut into large bite sized chunks. No need to peel and core when using a food strainer!

They must be bite sized to fit in the Squeezo, Victorio, or other small food mills you may be using.  If you intend to really can a lot you may wish to purchase a commercial food mill that can take a whole Roma tomato with top cut off.



***If you are so inclined you can cut the tops off and have your kids squeeze the tomatoes over a bucket expressing water and seeds before cutting. They love it!

    Place the cut pieces into a colander over a bucket or pot while you process more.  This lets the water drain. 

   You can see the is drained juices after lifting the colander here.

        Process the tomatoes through your food mill.  This is the Victorio. I love it!  It has made processing so much faster.

Tomatoes in the top, paste out the bottom, seeds and skins out the side. It’s a lovely thing…No more boiling, icing, peeling and cooking off excess water collected during the peeling process!  Just tomato sauce with no coring or peeling! It’s $57.00 on Amazon.

***Only fill the top half full to make feeding the food mill easier to keep fed. Switch arms on the crank or have you kids take turns. You can buy a motor for the Victorio on Amazon as well and it is quite nice when I do a lot of paste. Avoid food strainers that suction down.  Get one that screws to your counter top.***

At this point you can add the puree to the pot, however I use a sieve that sits over a large baking dish to strain even MORE water out.  Some of you will argue that you want to cook that goodness down, and I feel you, but this gets me thick paste that I simply heat and process.

 

    You can see it reducing here.  You can can the water as tomato juice for drinking, feed to livestock, toss it, cook it down for soup flavor….

 Keep adding your batches to your nonreactive pot as you process that day.  Stir as you go to keep the bottom from burning. After getting all you batches into the pot you are hot and ready to process in a water bath.

I add lemon 1T lemon juice to the bottom of my sterilized jars before filling and water bathing.