Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Can- Tomatoes

I love to cook with tomatoes and every time they are in season, I want to take advantage of it and get as many as I can. This year, I was lucky to have a friend that grew huge amounts of tomatoes and wanted anyone to take them off her hands. So, I took a couple of trips out there to pick away. I let many of them ripe and others I used up fresh. I was going to preserve a few things with tomatoes like spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, salsa, and tomato soup. But, I realized that if I just preserve tomatoes themselves, then I can use them for all of these things, plus more. The tomatoes would be ready to use and then I could just use them for what I needed the most. In this post, I will show you how I like preserve tomatoes which is fast, easy, and requires no cooking.
Supplies You Will Need:
  • Water Bath Canning pot-Tomatoes do not need to be pressure canned
  • Jars- Quart or Pint Sized Jars (Wide or Regular mouth, new or re-used)
  • Lids- Wide of regular mouth (never re-use lids)
  • Rings- Wide or regular mouth (Re-used rings are great as they are not rusty)
  • Jar Lifter
  • Bubble Remover/Headspace Tool
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Jar Funnel 
Always have these cleaned and ready to go when you begin canning. I also like to throw my jars, lids, and rings in the dishwasher with a mild soap even if they are brand new and do a 1-hour wash or sanitation cycle.

If you haven't already done this, sterilize your used jars and rings by placing them in boiling water for about 10 min. I use my Water bath canner for this to make things a little easier. It is good to add your new lids for 5 minutes to soften the band and sterilize as well. Set them out to air dry.

Keep the Skins, Seeds, and Jelly:

It has been widely assumed that the flavor of the tomato is in the flesh. However, this is not the case. The real tomato flavor itself comes from the seeds and its jelly. As far as the skins go, I prefer to keep them on because they help retain the shape of the tomato slices and I don't really notice the skins when I puree them for soups and sauces. Plus, removing the skins is one less step I have to do, not to mention a messy one.  
Clean and Cut:
Clean your tomatoes and remove stumps. Cut and fill Jars. You can cut in halves, quarters or leave them whole.
I would use a funnel for less mess. If you don't have a funnel, don't forget to wipe off the jar rims if there is juice, seeds or any residue on them.

Add Natural Preservative:
I know many women who do not use any kind of preservative when they can tomatoes. I prefer the lemon juice and the small amount of salt because it fight off potential mold and heat resistant bacteria. Of course, my tomatoes don't last longer than a year or two before they are all gone and I need to make another batch.
Salt and lemon juice for both Pints and Quart Jars:
I use lemon juice but you can also use 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid per one Tablespoon of bottled Lemon Juice.
Pints- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Quarts- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt

Sprinkle salt (I use Kosher Salt) and pour lemon juice over cut tomatoes in jar.

Fill Jars:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. I like to keep my kettle hot and ready for each batch of quart sized jars. Fill jars with pre-boiled water leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. Cover with lid and ring.
Process Times:
Bring to a boil and Process in a water Bath Canner
35 min for pints
45 minutes for quarts

Submerge secured jars in pre-boiled water in your water bath canner. Cover with canner lid and process for the correct amount of time.
Cool Down:  
After they are done, take them out of the canner, set them on a dry towel (trying not to hit the jars), and let them sit upright for 6-12 hours. This way they can complete the process. Then, you can mark the date and store them with your canned goods.
Store canned tomatoes in a cool dark place and they should last for a few years.
More ways to preserve your tomatoes (posts to come):
Dry Your Tomatoes

I like to dry some of my tomatoes. They work well in soups, salads, and pastas.

Freeze Your Tomatoes
I also like to freeze tomatoes. I use these for pureed soups and sauces.
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Nichole said...

Thats awesome. I would love some dried tomatoes:) I was thinking about buying a dehydrator today to do some apples.

Madeline and Family said...

They were on sale at Fred Meyers. That still might be. You should check it out. I love mine!

Pitcher Family said...

I am not much of a cook or a canner so I have a couple of questions on the canned tomatoe thing. AFter the process time, what do you do with the tomoatoes? Do they stay in the jar?

Madeline and Family said...

Take them out of the canner, set them on a dry towel (trying not to hit the jars), and let them sit upright for 6-12 hours just so they can complete the process. Then, you can mark the date and store them with your canned goods.
If you store them in a cool dark place, they should last for a few years. Thanks for your questions.

Abby said...

Love this!

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