Wash your jars, lids and rims in hot soapy water and air dry. Place jars in your boiling water canner and heat till simmering (180 degrees F). Place jars lids and rims in another small saucepan and heat till simmering, but do not boil. Keep in hot water till ready to use.
Choose tomatoes carefully. Inspect for mold or bruises. Measure how many pounds you need and then wash and drain tomatoes.
In another pot, boil water. While it’s boiling, place a tray of ice water next to the pot. Use a paring knife to make a small x mark in the bottom of each tomato.
Place the tomatoes into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until they skin starts to come off. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and place into the ice water bath. This is the fun part. Have your kids help you slip the skins off the tomatoes.
Depending on the size of your jars, halve or quarter the tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are great to can because their shape lends itself to packing in a can.
Add 1 tablespoon bottle lemon juice to each pint jar or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar.
Remove hot jars from boiling canner with your jar lifter (or a pair of tongs) and set on a clean towel for a minute to dry. Then place a funnel over each jar and start packing each jar with tomatoes leaving ½ inch headspace.
Ladle hot water from a pot of boiling water over tomatoes, leaving ½ inch of headspace (using your headspace tool). This is a good job for the kids. Add salt--either a ½ teaspoon (pint) or 1 teaspoon (quart). This is optional.
Remove air bubbles by slipping your bubble remover/headspace tool into the side of the jar to release trapped air bubbles. A plastic knife is a good substitute—or any flat-edged non-metallic kitchen tool.
Wipe rims and threads of the jar with a clean towel. I usually dip the end of the towel or paper towel into the pot with boiling water to make sure it’s sterile and then wipe the rims clean.
Adjust the two-piece caps. Use your lid wand (or tongs) to extract the lids from the hot water and place on the jars. Tighten the jars till firmly closed but not too tight. As they'll get tighter in the canning process.
Lower the jars into the pot and set in rack, making sure they're not touching. Make sure jars are covered with 1-2 inches of water from the rim. Cover the pot with a lid and wait for it to come to full boil. Set a timer and "process" each batch. Pints boil for 40 minutes and 45 minutes for quarts. High-Altitudes please refer to manufacturer instructions.
Turn off heat and let sit in water for five minutes before removing to clean towels to cool. Test each lid by pressing the center to make sure it's sealed down. If it's not, refrigerate or see Ball Canning instructions on how to trouble shoot and re-process.
Serving Size 6-7 jars