This is a very easy way to preserve the very best tomatoes for use throughout the winter in soups or casseroles. Make sure you use perfectly ripe but still firm fruit when bottling. You can leave the skins on or remove them first if you wish. It is essential to use proper preserving jars for this method.
1 kg tomatoes
2 litres water
2 tablespoons plain salt
bay leaves – optional
Wash and dry the tomatoes and remove the green calyx. Dissolve the salt in the cold water. Pack the tomatoes into clean jars, adding a couple of bay leaves if you wish and pour in enough brine to come right to the top of the
jars. Place the lid on top and secure with the screw band or clip.
Arrange the bottles on top of a rack or folded tea towel in a deep pot and spaced apart to avoid bumping. Cover the jars with cold water and put the lid on.
Bring very slowly up to 54°C over a one hour period. Increase the temperature to 88°C and maintain this temperature for a further 30 minutes. A thermometer is essential. Lift the jars from the water and place on a wooden board. Tighten the screw bands and leave till cold. Test the seals (see page 99) and
store in a cool dark place.