Canning Tomatoes at Home

5 years ago

When it comes to tomatoes the canning possibilities are endless. Beyond the basic canned tomatoes in juice or water, there are tomatoes with peppers, those canned with garlic and basil, sauces and condiments—salsas, ketchups, barbecue, pizza and spaghetti sauce. One family could, if they’re like ours, eat a whole field of tomatoes—even if it's a small one—each year. And we almost do.

The beauty of tomatoes, however, isn’t necessarily their versatility, but how functional they are at the most basic level. You can spend hours cooking down a blue-ribbon worthy barbecue sauce, but a half-hour over a pot of halved or crushed tomatoes can often benefit your family just as much—sometimes even more.

Canned Tomatoes

Prepare jars and lids.

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Blanch and skin tomatoes, leaving in a large colander to drain as you work.

Process tomatoes as desired. If you’d like to can them whole, you can simply remove the core. Halving, quartering, and dicing are other options.

Add 1 TBSP lemon juice to each pint jar or 2 TSBP for each quart.

Pack processed tomatoes into jars, and ladle boiling water overtop, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace, and remove any air bubbles.

Apply lids to fingertip tight, and place jars in a boiling water bath canner, making sure jars are covered with water. Bring canner to boil, and process 40 minutes for pints or 45 minutes for quarts.

On Acid: Though tomatoes are an acidic food, they’re not always quite acidic enough to be safe for water bath canning on their own. A quick and simple fix to this problem is to add a bit of lemon juice (commercial bottled is best because its acid content is standardized) to each jar.

On Processing: Whole, halved, quartered, diced, crushed. You can pack your tomatoes in many ways, and no one way will be the best for every family. Before packing your tomatoes, think about which form you cook with most and can accordingly. Also remember: the smaller the tomatoes are processed, the more you can pack in a jar.

Looking for other canning tips, tricks, techniques and recipes? Check out our Practice of Preserving series.

Diana Prichard authors Righteous Bacon and is the owner of the small farm Olive Hill.

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