canning tomatoes {ready for many uses}

 

I see many garden’s about this time of year, sitting vacant, with so much produce left to harvest! One of the most wasted products I see are tomatoes! So many people end up planting more then they need, or really want. And eventually end up letting their bumper crop of tomatoes go to waste. I say, can them!
 
Every gardener ends up with the agony of having too many tomatoes come on all at once, at one point in time. We can’t let those beauties or flavors go to waste! Can your extra tomatoes, and later when you open that jar, you will be able to enjoy  those garden-fresh flavors throughout the fall and winter months!
 
My favorite recipe for canning tomatoes is canning them in bite size pieces. I rarely ever use whole or quartered tomatoes. When canning them bite sized, it saves me time later! With canning them this way, I get about 1 pint of  tomatoes for every 1 – 1 ½ pounds of fruit. {It varies depending upon the variety}. 
 
I love tomatoes! They are so versatile! So many things you can do with canned tomatoes. I use my canned, tomatoes in stews, soups, I make pizza sauce, marinara sauces, salsa’s and so much more! They provide my family with oodles of flavor and recipe options, even in the dead of winter! 
 

Important Tomato Fact: Tomatoes are a fruit and although most fruits have a high acid levels, interestingly enough, tomatoes do not! Their levels can vary, depending upon the variety, or the growing conditions they endure. Often making them a poor candidate for water bath canning. The solution to this problem is to acidify each jar by adding powdered citric acid {available where canning supplies are sold} or bottled lemon juice to each jar. {Which is what I do.}

Getting Ready to Can TOMATOES
 
You Will Need: 
• Clean pint-sized or quart canning jars with lids and rings
• Pressurized canner
• Stockpot for cooking tomatoes
• Measuring spoons
• Knife and cutting board
• Clean sink full of cold water
• Spoon
• Ladle
• Jar lifter or tongs
• Jar funnel –for filling jars
• Sharp Knife
Ingredients You Will Need:
• Tomatoes {any variety}
• Bottled Lemon Juice or Citric Acid
Fill canner with enough water for the level to be about 2”over the jars 
{that’s about ½ way}. Place on high heat.
Sterilize jars before you begin. {I use the dishwasher!}
Be sure to heat your canning lids and rings before using. 
{Put them in small saucepan with water. Keep on low-med heat.}
 
Fill large pan with water and bring to a boil.
 
Use a knife to cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and drop into the boiling water to blanch for about 1 minute. 
 
Use spoon to remove the blanched tomatoes into your clean sink of cold water.  Cool and peel.
 
 
Chop tomatoes, removing cores, and any bad spots. Drain extra juice. {I set my cutting board at an angle over my sink. Allowing access juice to drip right down into the unused side of my sink.} So much cleaner, and less juicy mess this way! ;0)
 

If tomatoes are still rather warm, {I don’t worry about heating them up in a stock pot before putting into jars.} If they are cold, then I would defiantly recommend heating them up before filling jars. {Don’t want your hot jars to break!}
 
When filling jars, leave a ½-inch head-space. To each jar, add ¼ teaspoon of powdered citric acid {OR 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice.} For flavor, you can also add ½ teaspoon salt to each jar, if you wish.  
Use a plastic knife to release bubbles trapped in the jar by running it around and through the tomatoes. Wipe jar edge with a damp paper towel and add the heated lid and ring.  
 
Place tomato jars in canner.
 
Pressurize for 30-45 minutes. {start timing AFTER the water is rapidly boiling.} Let canner cool down and be sure it’s unpressurized before opening. Remove jars with jar lifter or tongs. Set them on towel to cool, and seal.   
Check seals after 12-24 hours. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks. Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf for up to one year.
If you are unfamiliar with canning, it’s not as difficult as you think. Don’t be frightened! My Grandma and Mom, both canned. But I must admit, I wasn’t very interested back then. ;0) I learned some things from watching, though I practically taught myself to can after I married my husband. It was something I wanted to learn. And It was a lot easier then I thought it would be! I suggest purchasing a

Ball Blue Book The Guide to Home Canning and Freezing

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They have newer books, but this one seems to be the mother load book, if you know what I mean. ;0) I’ve seen many of these books at second hand stores and garage sales. You can also purchase it online! {As far as I know they don’t make this book anymore.} They have newer books, that I am not familiar with. However, I’m sure any canning book, and internet recourses will be just about all you need for canning! {not counting jars and canning supplies.} This is just a book, I have found VERY, VERY useful when it comes to canning and freezing!
{Homemade Salsa}
 made from a batch of tomatoes. 
 
What do you do with your tomatoes? Have you ever canned?Happy Preserving!


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