Today: Put up firm, unblemished tomatoes at peak ripeness. Tomorrow: Enjoy sensational soups and sauces.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an icewater bath. Wash and drain tomatoes, and cut an X in bottoms. Blanch for 15 seconds, then transfer to ice bath to cool. Remove tomatoes from bath and peel skins.
Place tomatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bringto a boil. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Lift jars out of hot water one at a time, draining water. Place on a towel or rack. Fill halfway with tomatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon citric acid for pints (1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon citric acid for quarts). Fill remaining space with tomatoes, pressing to pack. Ladle boiling cooking liquid over tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Slide a nonmetallic spatula or chopstick between tomatoes and jar; release any trapped air bubbles by pressing on tomatoes. Repeat around inside of jar 2 to 3 times. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth. Remove lid from hot water. Place on jar. Screw band down, just until resistance is met.
As you fill each jar, set it onto raised rack in
boiling-water canner. Water in canner should be at a simmer. Once jars are filled and placed on rack, lower rack into canner. (Water level must cover caps by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.)
Put lid on canner. Bring water to a rolling boil, then process pints 40 minutes (quarts 45 minutes) at a gentle but steady boil.
When time is up, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Let canner cool 5 minutes before removing jars. Set them upright 1 to 2 inches apart on a dry towel or cooling rack. Do not retighten bands. Let jars cool 12 to 24 hours.
Once cool, check lids for a good vacuum seal by pressing on center of each. If center is pulled down and does not flex, remove band and gently try to lift lid off with your fingertips. If lid does not flex and you cannot lift it off, seal is set. Wipe exterior of lid and jar with a clean, damp cloth to remove any food particles and residue. Label. Store jars in a cool, dry, dark place.