I’m excited to show you guys how to can tomatoes. This is a process passed down from several generations. One of our favorite things about our new house is our giant garden. Casey really loves to work in it, and I really love the stuff we get from it. My all time favorite is tomatoes. I grew up with tomato sandwiches and my sister and I used to eat them like they were apples, with salt, of course. Our town is even famous for our tomatoes. Our annual town get-together is called “tomato days”.
Since Casey has done such a great job with our garden this year, we’ve got tomatoes coming out of our ears! So I got busy and today, I want to show you how to can tomatoes.
HOW TO CAN TOMATOES
1. Boil a large pot of water.
I use an 8 quart stock pot. You can buy them for pretty cheap. I got this one for about $20 on Amazon.
2. Prepare Jars
While your water is heating up, get your jars out and start sanitizing them. There are several ways to do this. I have found it’s easiest just to stick them in my dishwasher and push the sanitize button. Or if you donâ€™t have a sanitize button, just run them through a really hot rinse cycle.
3. Blanch Tomatoes
Place your tomatoes into the boiling water for about a minute. Make sure the water is boiling. The riper your tomatoes are, the less time they need in the water. I’ve found that about 60- 90 seconds is usually just about right. You aren’t trying to cook the tomatoes, you are just making them easy to peel.
After they take a bath in the boiling water, transfer them to a cool water bath. I just fill up one side of my sink with cold water and ice, and let them sit in there to stop the heat from cooking them.
4. Core Tomatoes
Take a knife and core the tomato.
5. Peal Tomatoes
After you’ve cored the tomato, you’ll skin the tomato. Since we blanched them, the skin should just slip right off. You might need to help it out a little bit with your knife.
6. Quarter Tomatoes
Cut your tomatoes into quarters, or smaller. It’s up to you.
7. Fill Jars
Fill up your quart jars with the quartered tomatoes. Squish them in there until it’s full to the neck of the jar. You can use wide-mouth jars if you have them, but I just use regular quart jars because they are cheaper. You might want to use a jar funnel to help keep your jars clean.
8. Add water
Once you’ve got all of your jars full of tomatoes, add a teaspoon of bottled lemon juice (like ReaLemon). The lemon juice adds acidity, which is needed for preserving. Then fill with water to the neck of the jar- just where the curve is. You can also add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar, if desired. The sugar and salt are for taste only.
You want to make sure most of the air bubbles are out of your jar. I usually run a butter knife around the inside of the jar to help the air bubbles float to the top.
10. Process jars
Wipe off the mouth of the jar and put on your lid and ring.
Place your filled jars into a giant pot of boiling water. The water should be over the top of the jars by an inch or two. Boil for 45 minutes. I use this pot and it’s my very favorite ever! It has a rack so I can lift the jars out without burning my hands. I also have this canning kit, and it is SUPER helpful. If you don’t want to buy the whole kit, you’ll at least want a jar lifter and a jar funnel.
Once you’ve boiled your jars, let them sit on the counter for 24 hours. Then check and make sure the tops have popped. That’s how you’ll know they’re sealed. If they don’t pop, you are good! If the top pops up when you push on it, you’ll need to replace the lid and boil the jar again.
After your bottles are sealed, make sure you date your lids so you know what year they were preserved. And enjoy your tomatoes all year long!
You will want to store your tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct light. I have mine on a shelf in my pantry- but not the top shelf where the light shines on them. They should last you a few years, if your family doesn’t gobble them up as fast as mine does!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for how to can tomatoes. I love to use bottled tomatoes for salsa, spaghetti sauce, and soups.
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