I learned to can tomatoes beside my mother in our farm pump house every summer as a kid. She had a big pressure cooker, a series of propane burners and lots of ball canning jars. If we didn’t grow the tomatoes in our garden, we knew someone that had extras. Even as a single girl in Los Angeles after college, I would buy tomatoes at the farmers market and can them on my little apartment stove. To this day it pains me to buy tinned tomatoes.
Canning tomatoes is pretty easy, although it does take quite a bit of prep work. I call it meditation. Give yourself a good 3 hours for the whole process for 20 lbs of tomatoes. My romas are the only tomatoes I planted this year that are really producing, and since they are a determinate variety, the fruit is all ready right now. I picked about 10 lbs today, then picked up another 10 lbs at the Mill City Farmers Market. I finally ordered my very own pressure canner, which can process 7 quarts at once in half the time as a hot water bath. I bought the same model as Mrs. Wheelbarrow, the Presto Pressure Canner, which she said has worked great for her over the years.