Try This at Home: How to Make Jarred Tomatoes
Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia Stewart shows Food Network Magazine how to preserve summer tomatoes so you can use them all year.
Jarred tomatoes will keep for up to a year. Use them as you'd use canned tomatoes — in sauces, soups and stews.
Get the Recipe: Jarred Tomatoes
"Preparing passata di pomodoro — tomato puree, in Italian — is a multigenerational tradition in my family," Donatella says. "We make it in big cauldrons outside."
Sterilize the jars: Wash the jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place a folded clean kitchen towel or canning rack on the bottom of a stockpot (this keeps the jars from rattling); fill about halfway with water. Add the jars, making sure they're submerged. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes; remove with a jar lifter and place on a clean towel. Turn off the heat but reserve the pot of water. Meanwhile, put the lids and bands in a saucepan of simmering water until ready to use (do not boil).
Cook the tomatoes: Bring another stockpot of water to a boil. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes (in batches, if necessary) and cook until they split and rise to the top, about 5 minutes.
Strain the vegetables; discard the celery stalks but keep the leaves for flavor.
Puree the tomatoes: Set a food mill over a large bowl. Working in batches, puree the tomatoes and vegetables through the mill, scraping the bottom occasionally with a fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons salt, then the citric acid — this ensures a safe acidity level for canning.
Fill the jars: Remove the lids and bands from the hot water with tongs and place on a clean towel to dry. Put 3 basil leaves in each sterilized jar (make sure your hands are clean).
Use a ladle or funnel to fill the jars with the tomato puree to about 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, then screw on the lids (do not overtighten).
Process the jars: Bring the original stockpot of water to a simmer (keep the towel in the pot). Lower the filled jars into the pot, bring to a boil and leave for 45 minutes. Use the jar lifter to remove the jars and transfer to a towel; let sit overnight. Don't overfill the jars — you need to leave some space.
Check the seals: Press the tops of the jars; the lids should not pop up and down. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 5 days.