I have a friend who owns a farm. I know, I know, you all want to be me.
This friend (who shall remain nameless to preserve my source) gifted me with a 30-pound box of tomatoes that weren't quite perfect enough for the farm stand. As I am also not perfect (stop whispering in the back, there. I can hear you) they were the ideal match for me.
Of course, my schedule and lack of motivation being what they are, these babies got very ripe as they sat in my kitchen. Dark red, just starting to get a little soft. Not bad, mind, but not at their peak. So, plans to can fresh tomatoes went out the window. Instead, it struck me that I could roast them and make them into a simple sauce that I could can and use later to create whatever kind of sauce I wanted.
The recipe is simplicity itself: Tomatoes. Salt. That's it.
After roasting, you yank off the skins, put them in a stockpot, boil, whiz with an immersion blender, then can using the hot water bath method. Simples!
And being so basic, you can customize it later. Add oregano and garlic and some olive oil for a marinara. Jazz it up with some pepper flakes. Or add some za'atar or berbere for a shakshuka.
Depending on the tomatoes and how much you reduce, this can make anywhere from 5 to 7 pints.
20 lbs. tomatoes - whatever you've got, basically
2 tbs kosher salt
Citric acid or lemon juice
1) Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas Mark 7
2) Wash tomatoes, core and cut off blossom end. Cut in half
3) Sprinkle salt on a sheet pan covered with foil or silicone pad. Divide if using more than one pan at a time.
4) Place tomatoes, cut side down, on pans
5) Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the skins are mostly brown and kinda puffy. You'll probably want to rotate about halfway through.
6) Remove from oven, pick the puffy skins off and discard
7) Throw into a large stock pot, heat, and then liquidate the hell out of your tomatoes with an immersion blender.
8) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until you get the consistency you want.
9) While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare you jars, lids and rings as you normally would for water bath canning.
10) Add 1/4 tsp citric acid or 1/2 tsp lemon juice to each jar (for pints. If using quarts, double it).
11) Fill with sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and process in boiling water bath, 35 minutes for pints, 40 minutes for quarts.