Canned Heat

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Up to your eyes in Jersey Boys or Beefsteaks? While popping open a jar of store-bought tomatoes might be easy-peasy, you'd be surprised at how simple and rewarding at home canning can be. Grab your biggest pot, and your biggest, reddest bushel, and get ready to can-can your surplus Romas away. Believe us-you'll be thanking yourself come December.

1) Pick fresh, fleshy tomatoes. Even though they'll be cooked, this isn't the place for mushy runts-quality canned tomatoes call for quality produce, period. Romas are recommended for having less skin and water, and thicker, meatier walls.

2) Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize: the dishwasher will do, or you can toss your jars, lids, and rings in a pot and get boiling. You should also start heating up your tomato juice as well as your canning pot (filled half-way with water), lid on.

3) They make for chewy sauce, so take the skins off after a quick one-minute dip in boiling water and then a dunk in a bowl of ice.

4) Fill the jars leaving a quarter-inch of headroom, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to ward off spoilage, and fill to the brim with hot tomato juice. Use a spoon to get rid of air pockets, then close it all up. Always use new lids!           

5) Arrange the jars in your canning pot, cover with at least an inch of water, and boil for about 40-45 minutes. Once done, lift them out and let them cool overnight in a draft-free place, then check that the lid is sealed. If it pops, it's not, so refrigerate and use quickly. No pop means your juicy reds are ready for stowing.

-Lucy Zhou




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