Canning Tomatoes Like Grandma

Putting up tomatoes reminds me of my grandmother's seasonal chores that put food on the shelves year after year.  As long as she was able, she preserved a good portion of what grew in the garden and made it last.

My Largest Pick So Far
The late summer has been a plentiful time for our heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes.  The imperfectly shaped orbs have clustered themselves a dozen at a time on the plants, weighing them down.  My husband has engineered twine, wire cages and bamboo sticks into a system that manages to keep most of the tomatoes from tumbling over.
Toppling Cherokee Purple Tomato Plant

I waited for the day when I could fill three baskets at once with purplish-pink ripened tomatoes.  Then I immediately started processing them.  I felt more confident about canning after attending last year's classes and getting one year of solo water bath canning under my belt.
The tomatoes filled up seven quart jars to save for winter. Seven times we can add this summer's tomatoes to homemade chili, soup or spaghetti sauce.  Next time, I want to make and preserve homemade salsa.

Here's the University of Tennessee's Extension guide to canning foods.  And here's how to obtain the University of Georgia's popular book called So Easy to Preserve.  Be sure to educate yourself about food safety and find tested recipes before you start your home canning projects.