The final weeks of summer can be bittersweet. While we prepare for the changing leaves, tomatoes—one of our favorite things to eat this time of year—are at their full peak.
You reap the benefits in the blustery winter months when you take a late August or early September day to capture the tomato's late-summer flavor. You'll thank us in the weeks and months ahead, whether you're crushing preserved San Marzano tomatoes with yours hands before they're added to a pot of slow-cooked beans with a pinch of red pepper flakes, or making a sauce out of preserved fleshy Early Girls with softened onions and garlic.
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 3 quarts
Prep Time: 40 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus cooling time
9 pounds of tomatoes, preferably a variety of plum tomatoes such as San Marzano or Roma
3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (see note)
3 teaspoons salt
3 sterilized quart jars with lids and rims
1. Make an ice bath. Score the bottom of the tomatoes using a paring knife. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working in batches, blanch the tomatoes for 15 to 30 seconds, or until their skin becomes loose. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath. Core and remove the skins from the tomatoes, being careful to keep the tomatoes intact and whole.
2. Place 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the salt in each Mason jar. Divide the tomatoes between each Mason jar, pressing the tomatoes down until there is only about ½" of space left at the top of each jar. Wipe the rim. Place the lid and top on each jar and tighten.
3. Bring a stockpot filled with water to a boil. Make sure there is enough water for the jars to be completely submerged. Arrange the jars on a wire rack and lower into water. Process the jars in boiling water for about 45 minutes.
4. Carefully remove the jars and let them cool at room temperature on a folded towel, making sure not to disturb the lids or tops of the jar. Check the seals after 24 hours; they should not flex up and down when pressed in the center. The tomatoes will keep for up to a year.
Note: Bottled lemon juice is uniformly acidified which allows for a more consistent acid level. This is essential when canning acidic foods such as tomatoes in order for them to get into the safe PH zone.