Instead of my usual monthly post about what’s happening in my garden, I decided to write about what it is exactly I do with all those tomatoes … canning! Here is how I do it:
What You’ll Need
- Tomatoes. Roma or plum tomatoes are the best. You need a LOT of tomatoes to make this worthwhile, by the way. There are 10-15 tomatoes in each pint jar. Red and ripe as possible.
- Lemon Juice. A tablespoon of lemon juice keeps the acidity at a certain level in the jar. This is to make sure you don’t “botulize” your family.
- Jars & Lids. These are the standard.
- Bowls. I usually need about 3 big, 1 small.
- Paring knife. Do yourself a favor and sharpen it first.
- Slotted spoon. To lift tomatoes out of boiling water.
- Canner. This is just a pot big enough to boil water with the jars inside. It needs to be tall enough to cover the tops of the jars with at least an inch of water. I use this.
- Boiling Pot. A second large pot, for blanching the tomatoes. I use my spaghetti pot.
- Canning tools. I highly recommend buying a kit like this one that contains a jar lifter, timer, wide mouth funnel and magnetic tool for lifting lids out of the hot water. In theory you could just use regular tongs, but this will save you time and reduce the risk of dropping a boiling hot jar or lid.
Prepare the Jars
- Boil the jars and lids in the canner for a minute or two to sterilize them. You do not need to boil the rings, which never come into contact with the contents of the jars.
- Turn off the heat and carefully remove the jars, using the jar lifter.
- Use the magnet tool to catch the lids.
- Set the hot, clean jars and lids on a clean towel.
Prepare the Tomatoes – Remove Skins and Seeds
- Put on the second boiling pot for the tomatoes.
- Remove the stem, core and any yucky spots. Cut an X on the bottom of each.
- Prep a bowl of ice and water and put it in your sink.
- Place the tomatoes (I usually do about 10 at a time) into the boiling water and set the timer for 45 seconds. You’ll see the skins separating off at the “X”. Let it go another 10-15 seconds if you don’t.
- Remove tomatoes with the slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice water. You are not trying to cook the tomatoes, just to loosen the skins.
- One at a time, pull the tomatoes out of the ice water. Squeeze gently and just right, and the skin will slide off and 90% on the seeds will ooze out. This gets a lot more efficient with practice.
- Skins and seeds go in one bowl. Whole tomatoes go in the other.
Fill the Jars
- Load up the jars
- Don’t forget the lemon!
Boil & Cool the Jars
- Boil for 50 minutes.
- Hear a POP as they cool? That’s good – it’s means the seal is good. (it’s easy to miss, so don’t freak out if you miss it)
Contents should be good for one year. In the meantime, they look great all lined up on a shelf in your pantry.
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