|Processed Bellstar and Yellow shorts.|
We process 7 quarts of canned tomatoes at a time, which pretty much requires 20-30 pounds of tomatoes, depending on size and water-content. I peel the skins off of the tomatoes (after dropping them in boiling water for about 30 seconds), cut out the stem and any bad spots, and then stuff them into sterilized jars. It's important to mash the tomatoes down with a clean wooden or plastic utensil to remove the air pockets. I pour in a bit of lemon juice once the jar is full (to add more acid which helps canned vegetables preserve longer) and then process the jars for 45 minutes in a boiling water bath. We have about 30 quarts of tomatoes right now... more than we use in a typical year, but this will not be a typical year, so we'll see.
We have also been making heirloom tomato sauce and then processing the jars in the same manner. After cooking down carrots, onions and celery from the garden to release their sweetness, we add some red wine and oregano, then garlic, salt and pounds and pounds of roughly chopped heirloom tomatoes. The sauce simmers for about 3-4 hours and then we blend it with an immersion blender and process it. So there's more work up front, but there will be less work once we open the jar this winter.