First job is to blanch the tomatoes in a big pot of boiling water for about 20 seconds (15 seconds is about the minimum). Chill them quickly in a bowl of cold water. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, you can start peeling away the skins.
Blanching loosens the skins. I teach the kids to make a small cut at the pointy end of the tomato, then pull the skin away in strips with the aid of their trusty plastic knives.
Once the skins are completely removed, we cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut the quarters into small small pieces or dice. The dice then go into a pot to be boiled for a few minutes. Ten or 12 will fill a one-pint jar. I show the kids how to ladle the tomatoes into a sterilized canning jar, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt before screwing on the lid and processing the jar in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes.
But we also want something to snack on as a reward for all that tomato prep. So we peeled some more tomatoes and turned them into an easy pasta sauce with some sauteed onions and finely grated Parmesan cheese. A sauce of tomatoes fresh from the garden delivers uncommon flavor. The kids quickly wolfed it down.