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Stewed Tomatoes

Stewed Tomatoes

1. Start by selecting ripe tomatoes from your garden. I usually pick all of the ripe tomatoes out of my garden and then sit them in a basket on my cupboard for a few days, allowing them to get really ripe. This will give you much more flavor and sweetness in your stewed tomatoes.

2. Once you have a decent amount of ripe tomatoes, wash them all.

3. Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil.

4. Clean out both sides of your sink. Fill one side full of cold water.

5. Now you need to remove the tomato skins. Skins do not preserve well, so you will need to remove them. Place a strainer over a bowl and place next to your pot. Take 7-8 tomatoes at a time and drop them all into the boiling water. Let them boil until the skin cracks, or a minute-a minute and a half have passed. If the skin does not crack, remove it anyways and place in the strainer using a slotted spoon. Once you have removed all of the tamatoes from the water, place more tomatoes in the boiling water and dump the ones from the strainer into the sink of cold water. Repeat until all tomatoes have been in the boiling water and then placed in cold sink water.

6. Remove skins from tomatoes...they should come right off after the boiling process. You should be able to peel them right off. I just do it over the sink and throw all of the skins in the sink, and clean them out when I'm done. Peel all of the tomatoes and place them in a clean bowl.

7. Place a large empty pot on the stove and turn on low heat. Rough chop eat tomato into bite sized pieces. They don't have to be perfect. Trasfer to the pot as your cutting board gets full. Don't waster the tomato juice...it adds wonderful flavor. Repeat until all tomatoes have been chopped, and tomatoes and juice are all in the pot. Turn heat up to medium low and start adding seasoning. I like to add plenty of salt, pepper and then some celery salt. I also add sugar to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. I usually add a half cup, but I make a HUGE pot...so you'll want to play around with seasonings until it tastes good, depending on how much you're making. Some people like to add chopped onions and celery at this point, but I prefer to just have the tomatoes plain because I like to add them to so many different recipes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

8. Transfer tomatoes into clean canning jars. Leaving at least 1/2" head space at the top of jar. Wipe rims clean and place lid and ring on top. Tighten.

9. Process jars in a hot water bath. For those of you who aren't canners...this is the large canning pot (not a pressure cooker). You fill it with enough water to cover all of the jars when submerged, and then you bring it to a roaring boil. Once the boiling starts, you put the lid on and allow the jars to boil. Quarts should process 35-40 minutes and pints 25-30 minutes.

10. Once they are done processing, remove from heat and allow to cool. If the seal pops downward, you're good to go. Immediately use or discard any of the jars that do not seal.

11. Use your stewed tomatoes...here is just a quick list of how I use my stewed tomtaoes...

-poured over cooked macaroni

-tomato macaroni soup (this is an old fashioned family favorite at our house. the recipe came from my great grandma. I will have to share the recipe sometime)

-poured over seasoned chicken breasts in the crock pot (this is one of Grace's favorite meals)

-poured over a seasoned roast in the crock pot

-in homemade chili and vegetable soup

-in tortilla and taco soup

-blended and added to homemade salsa

-baked macaroni & cheese with stewed tomatoes

-you can use them to make pasta sauce...you just need to simmer it long enough to thicken it up

-You can blend it and make homemade tomato soup

-you can basically use it in any recipe that calls for stewed tomatoes, or canned tomatoes.

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