How can you have too many tomatoes but not quite enough? The answer is simple. Too many to eat. Not quite enough to can.
The past two years I canned a ton (there I go again, exaggerating) of tomatoes and juice. And I don't mind admitting to you that homemade tomato juice is DeeeLicious. I like to leave out the salt and that makes for a tangy, tasty juice that you will never find on the store shelf. Even if I get a bit lazy, my Beloved nudges me and reminds me how he loves the stuff! And since I am to please, I generally can up whatever tomatoes we grow.
However, two years of canning has given us a surplus and so this year we planted only a handful of plants. Even so, those few plants have produced an abundance of tomatoes. I've given them away to my mother, my brother, two neighbors. And still they produce. And I hate waste.
Canning is a task. If I'm going to drag out the huge kettle I use to water-bath seven quarts of tomatoes I want to be able to fill it with seven jars, not just three or four. So I'm reluctant to can when I know there will be only three quarts.
However, here's what I've done to take care of those few extra tomatoes. Perhaps you might try the same.
First, dip the tomatoes for about 30 seconds in simmering water. Then dip in cool water. Slip off the skins, cut out the core at the stem, and fill a blender about 2/3 full. Blend. Run through a sieve. I usually end up with three or four blender-fulls. (Is that a word?) You will have a foamy juice at this point. Bring the juice to a simmer in a large pan on the stove. Once the juice comes to a simmer, let it barely simmer for maybe five minutes. Cool. Place in jars and refrigerate. Drink within a week. (This is not a canning procedure...please don't think if the jars seal that they are 'canned'. If you want to can the juice, be sure to follow the instructions in the Ball Blue Book.)
You will find fresh tomato juice to be the yummiest ever. And don't blame me if your spouse gets addicted and puts three dozen plants in the ground next year. You may want to hide the stuff in the back of the fridge and sip when he is not looking. Just in case.