Jul 31, 2015

Canning Tomatoes for Beginners

You've read how to sterilize the jars, you've thoroughly cleaned your tomatoes, so how do you turn your over abundance of this fresh fruit into jars of tomatoes to use in the winter? Very easily I say!
The trick is to get every thing you need lined up in order and you can be done in an hour.
Get your water bath going and an additional pan of hot water to drop the tomatoes into for skin removal. Get a bowl of ice water, line up your sterilized jars and put your canning salt in the bottom (a small teaspoon will do) and have your lemon juice ready. Keep on standby an empty bowl for the tomato scraps (the tops and skins that you remove). If you make your own compost you might want to set that aside for later, personally...our chickens eat the remains as a nice treat!

Okay, you are prepared. You have what you need. The water is boiling in your pots so drop a few tomatoes into your smaller pot while you prepare some more jars or tomatoes. After a couple of minutes in the boiling water, the tomato skin will pop or begin to split open. Pull them out and place them into the ice water bath to cool while you drop more tomatoes in.

As soon as they cool enough, the skin should peel right off and you can cut the tops off of the tomato. Put the fruit into the hot mason jars on top of the salt, add a dash of real lemon juice and ladle in some of the hot water you used to remove the skin to finish filling the jar (leave some space at the top for processing). Wipe around the top of the jar to ensure proper sealing and top the jar with a lid and ring and place inside your hot water canner. Each jar should stay in the canner of boiling water for about ten minutes or so. You can use your jar lifter to get the jars out for cooling. I don't touch my jars at this point until the next day. I check the top to make sure it is sealed (the flat lid should not give or move at all when gently pressed down). I will then write the date on the jars and set aside in the pantry to use for our winter soups.

You can and should read the safety guidelines for processing tomatoes this way, but this is how I was taught and and has worked for me for years.

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