Last Sunday I finally obtained my very own canner after looking for one on Craigslist for a few weeks. It was a steamer canner (not a pressure canner, they're different), and I was very excited to try it out. So this morning I did some research online into "steamer canners" only to find that they are not considered safe. Hmmm. I was already quite far into my tomato sauce recipe, and was making way more than I needed so I thought there must be another way. Indeed, there was.
Apparently, a boiling water canner, which is safe for some but not all canning, is an acceptable method of canning tomato sauce. So I looked into it, and the only difference between a boiling water canner and a large stock pot is that there is a tray at the bottom that allows the cans not to sit on the bottom. So the canner that I had purchased, although not working exactly as I had anticipated, was also designed to be used, by flipping it over, as a stock pot. So then I looked into different ways of getting around the tray at the bottom and some people just use a linen wash cloth underneath the jars to keep them from bouncing around on the bottom. I decided to give it a try.
Once the tomato sauce was cooked, I brought the big pot o' water to a boil and sterilized the jars, rings and lids in the boiling water for a few minutes. I then took out the jars, and while they were still hot, pureed the tomato sauce in my Cuisinart and then poured the hot tomato sauce, ungracefully, into the jars. The blade from the Cuisinart fell out and splashed burning hot tomato sauce all over my arm.
Anyhow, it seems to have worked out well enough so far. I'm going to have to test the jars once they have finished their 45 minutes of boiling before I'll know for sure. Here's how they look in their surprisingly straightforward pot of boiling water: