Are you ready to get started?!? Are you excited? Hope so, cuz this is going to be fun.
1. The first thing that you have to do is sanitize your jars and lid rings. When you buy new canning jars there will be jars, lids, and lid rings (also known as screw bands) inside the box. The flat lids do not need to be sanitized, but everything else does. I put it all into my dishwasher and press "sanitize," but you can also boil them.
It's best to can when the jars are still warm so try to sanitize right before canning.
2. Fill your large water bath canner with water and put the canning rack in the bottom. The canning rack keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot which I guess is important for even heating. If you don't have a canning rack you can twist tie some lid rings together and use them in the bottom of the canner.
Put the cover on, turn up the heat and let the water come to a boil...this takes a while.
While the water is heating, let's move on to the fun stuff...
3. Wash all of your tomatoes. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onions, crushed red pepper, and garlic; toss gently to combine. Set aside.
Take note of how beautiful your concoction is looking...
4. In a large stainless-steel, enamel, or non-stick heavy saucepan, combine vinegar, the water, sugar, salt, rosemary, black peppercorns, pink peppercorns, white peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes, stirring often. Remove and discard bay leaves.
5. Pack your tomato mixture into warm, sterilized jars
When packing the jars be sure to leave 1/2 inch of headspace (at about the bottom of the jar's threads, or is it treads...you know what I mean).
6. Ladle in the hot vinegar mixture. Make sure that the 1/2 inch headspace remains after the liquid is added. I also tried my best to evenly distribute the peppercorns and rosemary.
7. Wipe all of the jar rims before putting on the lids. It's very important that the rims are clean in order for the lids to seal.
Put the flat lids and lid rings on all of the jars. Tighten the rings until they are secure, but not tight.
By now your water canner should be boiling...
7. Using your canning tongs, lower your jars into the water canner one at a time. The canning rack will help to keep the jars upright and separated. You want the water to cover the tops of all of the jars.
Once all of your jars are in the canner (I could fit 6 in at a time), put the lid on the canner. Now some people say to wait until the canner is boiling again before starting your timer, but I always start the timer right after putting on the lid. However you choose, process the jars for 10 minutes.
Sometime you'll hear the jar seals pop while they are in the canner, other times they won't pop until you take them out. Don't stress over the popping.
8. When the processing time is up, use your tongs to lift each jar out of the canner. Cool on a wire rack. Once cool, secure screw on the lid rings and wipe off jars with a damp towel.
After all your jars have cooled, test the tops to make sure they all sealed. You shouldn't be able to push the lids up and down, they should be flat. If any of yours didn't seal you can either reprocess them in the water canner or what I do is put them right into my refrigerator and declare those the ones to eat right away.
That's it, you did it! You are now a CANner.
Embrace this new identity of yours.