two boxes full of ripe red tomatoes

The weekend before last we scored a great deal on two boxes of organic tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market in Arcata. They were probably 20# boxes, so that is 40 pounds of tomatoes.

It’s been years since I last canned tomatoes and this was only my second time, so I’m definitely not an expert. And since I don’t know how these will taste when we open them months from now, I can’t be sure yet of how successful I am this time.

using every burner on the stove top with bubbling pots of salsa and tomato sauce and tomatoes being steamed and the big canning pot with empty jars being sterilized

What I’m getting at is that I’m not going to post a recipe or share any specifics because I have little confidence that anyone should be imitating my technique. There are plenty of people out there who are experts and have written lots on canning and if you want instructions, you can look them up.

I got my information from the Joy of Cooking and the official website of Ball canning products. I made tomato puree – six pint jars, tomato sauce – ten pint jars, and salsa – two pint jars. The puree was just tomatoes cooked down with a touch of salt. The sauce was sauteed onions, garlic, dried oregano, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. For the salsa I used Rachel Turiel’s Best Salsa Ever recipe.

The organic tomatoes cost $30, the dozen new jars that I bought were $8, other ingredients added only about $2, and the time that I spent doesn’t count because I did all that hard work for fun. Let’s say the completed product is worth an average (puree is less, sauce and salsa are more) of $4 per jar. 18 jars x $4 = $72 Plus we ate a lot of fresh tomatoes and fresh salsa as well, so let’s add, say $12 to the total value. $72 + $12 = $84 and then subtract the cost… $84 – $40 = a SAVINGS of $44 dollars!

It really was a ton of work, but the satisfaction of making something from scratch made it worthwhile.


eighteen jars of tomato sauce, puree, and salsa stacked on the table

jars of tomato sauce cooling on the counter