Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Say Tomato, I say Tomahto

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How to Preserve Tomatoes
Our garden is finally really starting to crank things out. It has been rainy followed by a very dry/hot season - not good for most of my veggies. But, my tomato plants have flourished!

Different types of Tomatoes We have 8 tomato plants this year. Pictured above from left to right: 6 Marzano Tomatoes (Roma  type for tomato sauce/canning), 1 Beefmaster Tomato (Hamburgers, salsa, etc), 1 Cherry Tomato (sweet eating).

9 Feet Tall Tomato PlantsThe Marzano have grown WAY beyond my expectations! They have topped out at just shy of 9 feet tall!!

Garden Fresh Marzano Tomatoes So, needless to say, I have a LOT of tomatoes to can & for my family to eat. 

Canning Tomatoes

How to Can Tomatoes with a Tomato Press
For anyone who has ever wanted to can - it can be intimidating, but trust me it isn't that hard. To preserve fruits or vegetables you need to deep freeze them or can them.  We prefer to can tomatoes so they can be made into sauce and stored in our pantry for convenience.

There are two main ways to can veggies - water bath or pressure canned. Tomatoes (and other non acidic items like veggies) need to be pressure canned so they don't spoil. Here is how you do it:
Our first {of many} ripe picks of the season weighted in at 20 pounds!

Canning Tomatoes

  • Wash Tomatoes
  • Cut tomatoes into quarters
  • Put in Tomato Press (I got my Tomato Press for Christmas - $38). 


Turn the wheel and the the press does the work. The pulp & juice comes out one spot & the peels & seeds come out another. You dump the peels & seeds back through the machine a couple times to make sure you get all the good pulp!
tomato press

You can do this without a press, it just takes a little more work.

Wash the tomatoes, cut an X in the bottom about 1.5” x 1.5”. Now drop tomatoes in boiling water for 30-45 seconds. Pull out and immediately put in ice water. After 20 seconds the peel should pull slide right off. Now cut tomato and put in large stockpot. Use a potato masher to mash up the tomatoes some and cook as below, mashing again with potato masher from time to time.
Note: If you are doing it without a press or if you want thick tomato sauce for pasta sauces:
Canning Tomatoes 
Put the tomato juice {or smashed tomatoes} in large pot & simmer until it is reduced by 1/3 (for thin sauce) or 1/2 (for thick sauce). If you are making homemade pasta sauce you can add garlic, basil, and whatever else you like in your pasta sauce now. The flavors will blend nicely in the jars.
Canning Tomatoes Using a funnel, pour tomato sauce  and 1 TAB lemon juice into sterilized jars leaving 1/2- 1” room at the top. The jars need to be run through the quick rinse (on hot) or placed in boiling water for a minute to sterilize them to ensure you aren’t going to grow bacteria.  Wipe off the rim of the jars before putting on sterilized lids or any spilled tomato sauce will make it ridiculously hard to open!! Put on new top and sterilized (reusable) ring and tighten.

For tomatoes and non acidic fruits/vegetables you will need to use a pressure cooker to ensure they don’t spoil.

In pressure cooker put: rack in bottom, 3 Quarts (12 cups) boiling water, and 2 TAB white vinegar (opt. to keep jars looking fresh). Place jars inside pressure cooker. Close lid. Turn heat to high and cook until pressure indicator reads 11 pounds of pressure. Adjust heat to maintain 11 pounds of pressure.Canning Tomatoes
Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off & move pan off of heat. Allow to thoroughly cool; don't rush it or the jars may break. Once it is cool, open the pan & put jars on towel to finish cooling.
Canning TomatoesTADA! You now have delicious, fresh tomato sauce ready to use whenever. By using jars, there will be no BPA leaching into your tomatoes from the cans you buy at the grocery store. You are using tomatoes in their season when they are full of nutrients! And for me, this is the first of MANY times canning this season.

For my $3 pack of seeds I will easily yield over 100 pounds of tomatoes!
 

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1 comment:

  1. Great article, just curious, don't you need to vent your canner for 10 minutes before putting on the weight? My book says it is a must with my canner.

    ReplyDelete

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