Crushed tomatoes are the most useful item in my pantry. Where I used to buy commercially canned tomatoes regularly, I now have pints and quarts of my own canned tomatoes available for soups, stews, casseroles and sauces. Having some of each size means less waste.
25 pounds of tomatoes
Bottled lemon juice
Sterilized jars, lids and rings
I usually process about 25 pounds of tomatoes at a time, resulting in 6 or 7 quarts (or 12-14 pints) of tomatoes. Even our small household uses 30 or more quarts of tomatoes over the winter.
Dip the tomatoes in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then plunge into a large bowl filled with ice water. (I use my sink or a cooler.)
Once all the tomatoes have been blanched, begin peeling and crushing them. Cut out the core and any soft spots, then cut an X in the base of the tomato and slip off the peel.
Squeeze the tomato in your hands, releasing the juice and most of the seeds, then either chop further, or just place the crushed pulp in a deep nonreactive stockpot. Continue to peel and crush until all the tomatoes are in the stockpot.
Bring the tomatoes to a hard boil and boil well for 5 minutes.
Put 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt in each quart jar. (Use 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt for each pint.)
Fill the jar, leaving half an inch of head space. Wipe the rims, place the lid and ring, and finger tighten.
Process in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes (quarts) or 40 minutes (pints.)
Turn off the stove, allow the jars to rest in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then remove them to the counter, where they should remain, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
After a day, test the seals, wipe the jars clean, and store in a cool, dry place for up to one year.
Makes 6-7 quarts of tomatoes.