Crushed tomatoes is for me the perfect base of tomato product for cooking with during the late fall, winter and spring, so I try to pack away as much as I can afford to. Crushed tomatoes from this recipe make a high quality product, well suited for use as sauces & soups. Crushed tomatoes can be added to Spanish rice, stews, enchilada sauces, Italian pasta sauces; you name it, etc, etc… And it is very easy to make and work with.
Let’s get to work making home-made crushed tomatoes.
Quantity needed for making Crushed Tomatoes
If you are making pints, a canner load of 7 regular mouth pint jars needs about 15 pounds of good tomatoes If you are making quarts, a canner load of 7 regular mouth quart jars needs about 22 pounds of good tomatoes. A bushel weighs about 53-54 pounds, and can yield 15-20 quarts of crushed tomatoes, about 2-3/4 pounds per quart is a good rule of thumb. Our family goes through about 20-30 quarts of canned tomato products per year, during the off season.
Steps for making simple Crushed Tomatoes
Step 1 – Gather your tomatoes
Tomatoes red round, like beefsteak, or whatever your local cheap and plentiful kind are. Yes, you need a big basketful – you remove the skins, seeds and a lot of the water, and then cook it down, so it takes a lot to start – UNLESS you are using a paste-type tomato (like Roma) that has little water
Step 2 – Removing the tomato skins for Crushed Tomatoes
Here is a trick you may not know: Cut a small X in the butt-end of the tomato (not were the stem was) Put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 60 seconds is usually enough)
Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water with your slotted spoon, and Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water. (Yes, you will have to keep refilling the ice every occasionally. The kids love doing this to help.)
This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes! Now cut into quarters. Now is a good time to make sure your jars, lids and funnel are washed, sterilized and ready waiting in the dishwasher.
Step 3 – Cooking the Crushed Tomatoes
Take about 1/4 of the whole amount of tomatoes and add them to a large pot and quickly bring to a boil. Use a wooden mallet, or spoon, or the bean bat used to make refried beans (I can’t think of the name, right now) and crush and mash the tomatoes as the quickly come to a boil. Next add the rest of the tomatoes and bring them to a boil. You don’t need to crush these are there is enough pulp in the pot, and the heat and stirring will break these down enough for our use. Keep them boiling for about 5 minutes.
Step 4 – Processing the Crushed Tomatoes
Make sure your jars are ready and add the proper amount of acid to each jar. See Acidification notes below. You may also want to add 1 teaspoon of salt (pickling salt, never table salt) per quart, or a 1/2 teaspoon per pint. Ladle the hot Crushed Tomatoes into the funneled jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and apply the lid and screw down the ring hand tight. And process in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes for quarts, and 35 minutes for pints at sea level.
If you are at 1,001-3,000 feet, the time increases to 40p & 50q minutes. If you are at 3,001-6,000 feet, the time increases to 45p & 55q minutes. If you are at 6,001 feet or above, the time increases to 50p & 60q minutes. However at the higher ranges, I would be very tempted to only use a pressure canner.
The USDA has a chart about Acidification for tomato products and canning. They recommend 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per QUART of canned tomato products. They recommend 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid per PINT of canned tomato products. You may add a little sugar to offset the acid taste. You may use 4 tablespoons of 5% vinegar per QUART, and likewise 2 tablespoons of 5% vinegar per PINT; however it may have an undesirable change in flavor. Like it turns it more along the lines of pickled flavor. In some cases this is desired, and in others, not so much.
Michael loves gardening, cooking, canning and playing with the kids. Teaching Max, Brandon and Jonathon about “Cooking from Scratch” and “Living with the Land” and “Off the Grid”.
Original photo by Lolli from Better in Bulk