Monday, October 19, 2009

Canned Tomatoes

More garden surplus! Even after making homemade marinara sauce, we still had a lot of tomatoes from the garden. I really wanted to try canning, and it turns out tomatoes are pretty easy to do in a water bath. I was a little worried because I don't have any canning equipment (besides the jars), but we made do with a large stock pot, and makeshift foil "grate" to separate the jars and keep them off the bottom, and tongs and hot-mitts. It might not have been pretty, but for 4 jars of tomatoes, it worked for us.

I have included the procedure as written below, courtesy of Frank, found on Tasty Kitchen.

Canned Tomatoes
very easy to scale based on how many tomatoes you have (we canned 4 pints, but I don't know how many tomatoes we used - it seemed like a lot though!)

21 pounds Ripe Tomatoes
7 teaspoons Salt
14 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

water bath canning pot (I used a large stock pot)
canning jars (pints or quarts)
lids (round metal lids with a gum binder)
rings (metal bands that secure the lids to the jars)
jar lifter (to pick up the hot jars) (I used tongs and hot mitts)

METHOD: Sterilize the Jars and Lids

1. Fill the canner with water until it is half full and put it on medium high heat.
2. Fill the jars partially with water and place them on the rack in the canner for sterilization.
3. Bring the water to a boil.
4. Boil the jars for about 10 minutes.

Note: Jars can also be placed in the dishwasher and run through the high heat cycle. Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!

5. Fill the canner about ½ full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).
6. Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes.

METHOD: Processing the Tomatoes

1. Wash tomatoes.
2. Cut shallow in non stem end to aid peeling.
3. Remove the tomatoes’ skins.

• Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split, then dip in cold water.
• Slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve. (I removed most, but not all, of the seeds. I roughly chopped the tomatoes, primarily to help with packing them in the jars.)

4. Fill jars with raw tomatoes, leaving ½ inch headspace.
5. Press tomatoes in the jars until spaces between them fill with juice.
6. Add salt to the jars.

• 1 teaspoon of salt per quart of tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon of salt per pint of tomatoes

7. Add lemon juice or citric acid to the jars.
• 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon citric acid per pint of tomatoes

Note: Acid can be added directly to the jars before filling with product; in fact, this is recommended to be sure you get the acid in each and every jar. (I added the salt and lemon juice to empty jars, then filled with tomatoes.)

8. Using a flat plastic or wood utensil, free trapped air bubbles by gently sliding it up and down around the inside edge.
9. Put the lids and rings on.

Note: Just screw them on snugly, not too tight. If there is any tomato on the surface of the lip of the jar, wipe it off first with a clean dry cloth or paper towel.

10. Put the filled jars in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water.
11. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath.

• 85 minutes for quarts.
• 85 minutes for pints.

12. When processing is complete, lift the jars out of the water and let them cool in a draft-free place. (Once they are cool, you need to check the lids to make sure they have sealed. You should not be able to depress the "bubble" on the top. If any did not seal completely, you can stick in the fridge, but should use within a week or so. In general if you are not familiar with canning safety, do a little research. I checked out Canning for Dummies from the library, and it gave a decent overview for someone who was completely new to canning.)

I can't quite review these yet - we haven't used them! But we will soon enough. I see some chili in our future!

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