Friday, September 24, 2010

Have lots of tomatoes? Can them for rainy days!!!! It is so fun

Ready for an ice bath to peel them

So you want to know what to do with all your yummy tomatoes? I have been canning tomatoes a lot this season, as we cannot keep up with the production of my wonderful plants!!! I have found the exercise so fun and relaxing, so here I am sharing it with you - this recipe is for whole tomatoes, but you can also can diced tomatoes and sauce:

Pick the best tomatoes you can get (from the store or from your garden), wash them and peel them by putting them for a few minutes in boiling water and then removing them and adding them to a bath of cold iced water. The skin of the tomato will crack and it can be removed easily.

Sterilize a few canning jars, I can fit about 4 medium/large tomatoes in a pint jar, so you can guess more or less how many jars you need based on how many tomatoes you have. To sterilize, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, put the jars in a pot with cold water and bring to the boil. Once the pot gets to a rolling boil, keep it boiling for 10 minutes and then turn it off. Once it is off you can add the lids and cover the pot. Keep the jars in the hot water until you need them.

Sterilizing jars

Take your peeled tomatoes and put them in a pot with some water, boil them for 5 minutes and you will be ready to start packing

Boil them for 5 minutes

To pack the tomatoes, take one jar at a time, add 1/4 of a tsp of citric acid to the bottom for a pint size (1/2tsp for a quarter), the add the tomatoes, making sure you leave at least one finger of space from the top (do not fill to the rim)

you can substitute citric acid for lemon juice or vinegar 5% acidity
This jar is too full - either pack it down with plastic spatula or remove some tomatoes
Add a 1/2 tsp of salt to the top (1tsp for quarters) and fill the jar with the hot water from the tomato pot. Remember to leave at least 1/2 inch of space from the rim. With a plastic spatula, move the tomatoes around to make sure you do not have any air bubbles trapped in the jar. Clean the rims with a clean kitchen towel. Close the jar with the lid and metal band.

These jars have been filled to the right quantity

Put the closed jars on your water canner (Big pot with a grid at the bottom - you can buy it in supermarkets or online for around $30). Fill with warm water until the water is at least one inch over the jars and boil. Once it is on a rolling boil, boild hard for 45 minutes

Once the time is over, turn it off and carefully take the jars out. Put on top of a kitchen cloth and let it cool down overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Once they are cool, you need to test the sealing. Push the top of the lids with your finger. If it moves or makes a clicky sound it is not sealed. You can either refrigerate and consume within a week or start the canning process straight away. This has never happened to me yet!!!

Happy canning!!!

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