Canned Tomatoes


 18 pounds ripe tomatoes
 2 tablespoons coarse salt
 12 fresh basil leaves


 Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Score an X in the bottom of each tomato. Boil tomatoes in batches until skins begin to split, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice-water bath; let cool slightly. Peel, core, and halve tomatoes. Working over a sieve set in a bowl, remove seeds. Discard seeds, and reserve juice.

 Add lemon juice, if using (see note above), 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 basil leaves to each of 6 hot, sterilized 1-quart jars. Fill jars with tomatoes, cut sides down, compressing with a rubber spatula to remove air bubbles. Add reserved juice, leaving 1/2 inch space in each jar's neck. Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw tops. Transfer jars, using tongs or jar clamp, to the rack of a large canning pot filled with hot water; cover with water by 2 inches. (Jars should be spaced 1 inch apart, and should not touch sides of pot.) Cover; bring to a boil. Process jars in gently boiling water for 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 24 hours. Press down on each lid. If lid pops back, it is not sealed; refrigerate unsealed jars immediately, and use within 2 weeks. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.

Makes 6 Quarts 


Helpful Hints:

 This recipe provides an ideal way to enjoy the taste of peak-of-the-season tomatoes once summer is gone. The tomatoes are peeled, seeded, and fit into jars, which are then processed in a hot-water bath and allowed to cool.

 Cook's Notes

 Sterilize jars in boiling water for 15 minutes. Use new lids, and sterilize them, according to manufacturer's instructions. The USDA recommends adding 2 tablespoons lemon juice to each quart of tomatoes to increase the acidity and to help prevent spoilage.

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