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Tangy, spicy and colorful, stewed tomatoes have been used in numerous recipes down through the centuries. Although not touted as stewed tomatoes in earlier times, the blending of tomatoes with other vegetables and herbs has always created an exciting concoction. Today, in hopes of saving the homemaker valuable time, various different forms of stewed tomatoes have begun appearing in grocery stores across the country. Interestingly, the same stewed tomatoes you can now buy in a can are easily produced right in your own kitchen without the loss of flavor or nutrition.

Although any type of cooking tomato can be used to make stewed tomatoes, to produce the most flavorsome blend it is recommended that you use the roma tomatoes. If you are simply making a single recipe of stewed tomatoes you will need the following supplies:

12 to 15 roma tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion
4 stalks celery
1 medium bell pepper
1\4 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper

Begin by washing the tomatoes and removing any stems. Place the whole tomatoes in a pan and cover with water. Heat until water is boiling and allow to boil until the skins on the tomatoes begin to split. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Set aside two cups of the water you have boiled the tomatoes in. When cooled, remove the tomatoes and peel away the skins. Chop tomatoes into small pieces, being sure not to loose the juice and place in a blender. Blend for about one second and then add to the 2 cups of original water. Finely chop the garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper and add to the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and then simmer for approximately 15 minutes. You are now ready to add your homemade stewed tomatoes to a spaghetti sauce, soup or any other recipe that calls for stewed tomatoes. This recipe makes approximately three pints of stewed tomatoes and the remainder can be frozen for future use.

You can save a tremendous amount of time by making this recipe in much larger quantities. This can be done by simply by increasing the recipe and either freezing or canning the stewed tomatoes for future use. To can the stewed tomatoes you will need clean sterilized pint mason jars and metal screw lids that are self sealing. The jars can be sterilized by boiling them in a deep pan. Remove from the boiling water and allow to dry mouth down on a cotton towel. Fill each jar approximately 1 inch from the top with the stewed tomatoes. Screw the lid on each jar with the self sealing part next to the glass. Be sure to screw the lids tight. Place the jars in a pan of hot water, ensuring that you cover the jar tops by at least 1 inch. Cover the pan and allow to come to a rolling boil. Boil for 30 to 45 minutes adding boiling water to the pan when needed to keep the jars covered. At higher elevations you will want to increase the processing time by about 1 minute for every 1000 feet above sea level. Immediately remove jars when time is up and allow to air cool. Either during the processing or shortly after you will be able to hear a pinging noise as the jars seal.