Thursday, July 12, 2012

Canning Tomatoes: My First Attempt

I am still fairly new to canning, so bear with me on this one.  Summer is canning season simply because that is when fruits and vegetables are most plentiful.  Two days ago I took my first shot at canning tomatoes.  The process, for me, was relaxing.  Knowing that I can help support and supply for my family while being a homemaker gives me great joy.  So I pulled out my Blue Book and got started!

Pippi watching guard over my tomatoes!
The first step is to prepare all of your supplies.  You want to make sure there aren't any issues with your jars or lids that would cause sealing issues.  Next you're going to wash the jars and lids.  Heat the jars in water to 180 degrees (F).  Do not boil the lids.  Keep the jars hot until ready for use.  Fill your canner with hot water and heat to 180 degrees.  

Pick tomatoes that are fresh, firm, and free of cracks and bruises. Cut an X in the bottom of the tomato skins and blanch for 60 seconds.  Dip into cold water immediately.  
The skins will slip right off of your tomatoes.  The photo above is what they will look like.  Next you'll want to cut away any green areas and core them.  I them quartered my tomatoes, although you can leave them whole or halve them.  I packed mine in water, so at this point, you'll put your tomatoes into a large sauce pot, barley covering the tomatoes with water.  Boil gently for 5 minutes.  Remove one canning jar at a time.  Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice (this is for a pint jar, use 2 tbsp for a quart jar).  Using your jar funnel, pack your tomatoes into the jar and ladle the hot water over the top.  You'll want a 1?2 inch of head space.  Use a plastic spatula to release the trapped air.  Make sure to wipe the rims before placing the lid and bands on the jars.  Once you have the lid on, start placing your jars onto the rack in your boiling-water canner.  Process for 40 minutes (or 45 minutes for quarts).  Once finished, turn off the heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then remove.  Place onto a towel and let cool.  Do not touch the jars for 12 to 234 hours.  You'll want to listen for the infamous "ping" sound indicating that the lids are sealing.  After 24 hours, press the center of the lids to make sure they don't flex.  You'll also want to unscrew the bands to make sure the lids are sealed.    

When I first saw my jars, I noticed (although tightly packed) my tomatoes floated leaving a gap in the bottom.  I have learned that this is normal and that it will not affect my tomatoes.  All in all, I think this was a success!

For more information, visit Ball's website or check out the YouTube video posted by Ball on preserving tomatoes.  Happy canning!

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