My half-Italian upbringing has led me to believe that certain things are normal: buying an entire prosciutto, pitting 15 pounds of olives in one sitting, knowing all the nicknames of the numbers in Tombola and all the lyrics to “Volare”. Never having to use canned tomatoes from the supermarket is another one of those things that I’ve always accepted as normal; it’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve come to appreciate how special this is.

If you’ve tried your hand at tomato canning, you are well aware that it is a laborious endeavour – nothing glamorous here. But it’s dead simple and really rewarding. Our family does it around mid-September, when the tomatoes are at their very handsomest. One big batch (100 jars or so) will last us for the year.

If you decide to take this on as a project in the near future, here are a few steps to keep you in check:

***Note: months after this was originally posted, I took a workshop offered by a former pastry chef, turned entrepreneur/canner-extraordinaire who instructed us to process the jars after they were filled, as you would do when making pickles and jams (i.e putting them in a pot of simmering water and allowing them to boil for 30-40 minutes). Though our family has never done this (and no one has ever died, or been sick from botulism), it’s an option that you may choose to incorporate in your canning project. Search the web for more detailed info.