How to Can Tomatoes ~ Quick step by step guide
Tomatoes are one of the most plentiful foods at the end of the gardening season. You can use all varieties of tomatoes in canning, in fact I like to use lots of different kinds of tomatoes. I feel like the combination makes a better end product. Did you know you can even can grape tomatoes, yes the tiny bite sized ones. Most people let them go to waste because they are feared to be too time consuming to can. They are actually pretty quick and easy and are a great treat during the winter. Grape tomatoes are very inexpensive to can. All you need is a water bath canner or a large stockpot, water, canning salt, lemon juice and jars and lids.
Begin by inspecting your jars for any nicks, scratches, or cracks. Set aside damaged jars, because the heat from the canning process might cause them to break. Wash the undamaged jars with warm, soapy water. If your jars have a white residue on them, soak for 10 minutes in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water.Fill your canner with water and place clean jars inside. Bring to a simmer of 180°F and allow the jars to simmer until you are ready to use. OR you can put them in a clean dishwasher and wash them on high heat. This will both wash the jars and keep them nice a warm, ready for the canning process.Wash your tomatoes thoroughly. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Working in batches, boil the tomatoes for 45-60 seconds and immediately dunk in the ice water. Squeeze them gently and the peels should slide right off. For larger tomatoes, cut out the stem and core.
Pack tomatoes into hot jars and fill with boiling water, leaving a 1?2” headspace. Slide a plastic or rubber spatula around the inside of the jar, pressing lightly on the fruits, to remove air bubbles. Add more water if you’ve dropped below 1/2” headspace. Add 1?4 tsp salt to pint jars and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, or 1/2 tsp to quart jars and one teaspoon lemon juice, if desired. MOST the time no water is needed, if you press down the juice from the tomatoes fills the jars empty spaces. But if your tomatoes are not very juicy water might be needed.
Use a clean cloth to wipe off the rim of the jar. Affix lids and rings to jars and lower into canner. Bring the water to a full boil and cover. Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let the canner cool for 5 minute before removing jars. Set the processed jars on a thick, dry towel.
Let the jars cool for 12-24 hours and check the seals by pressing in the center of the lid. If it is solid, the jars have processed completely. If there is any give, or ‘pop’ when you press on the lid, the jar did not process and should be refrigerated for immediate use.
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