There is nothing like eating fresh tomatoes all year round. Canning tomatoes is one effective way to preserve some of your harvested tomatoes plus the procedure is surprisingly simple. You do not need to buy an expensive pressure cooker or a water-bath canner, which is just a large pot. Instead, you can use your large soup or stock pot as a water bath canner.
Boiling Water Bath Method
An effective way of canning tomatoes or any other vegetables without a pressure cooker is through the water bath method. The boiling water bath method is ideal for fruits, tomatoes, pickles as well as jams, jellies, and other kinds of foods. With the boiling water bath method, jars of food are heated by being completely immersed with boiling water at a temperature of 212 °F. Food with high-acid, a pH of 4.6 or less have enough acid that the botulinum spores cannot grow and produce toxins. Such food includes fruits and properly pickled vegetables. Most food can be safely canned in hot temperatures in a boiling water bath. Fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and figs have a pH values close to 4.6. In order to can these in a boiling water bath you should add acid such as lemon juice or citric acid in order to lower the pH level.
What You Will Need
The first thing you need to do is to gather your tools for canning which include;
- Jars (pint/quart)
- Lids/seals and rings
- Large pot
- Sharp knife
- Jar lifting tongs
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Clean towels and dishcloth/Paper towel
- Take a large metal pot that is at least 4 inches tall
- Make sure that the pot has a secure, tight lid.
Prepare Your Tools
Prepare your tools by washing the canning jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water. Rinse your tools and make sure that no soap is left behind. Then keep the tools warm in hot water until they are ready to be filled. Prepare your tomatoes by cleaning them.
Blanch Your Tomatoes
The next step will be to blanch your tomatoes by submerging them in boiling water for a minute or so. When you are done move the tomatoes to a large bowl of cold water so that they cool and take them out. Your next step is to peel off your tomatoes by removing their skins. When done peeling cut out the cores, halve or quarter the tomatoes, as desired.
Cook Your Tomatoes For A Few Minutes
When the previous step is done put your tomatoes in a pot and add just enough water to cover them. Let your tomatoes boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or so. As the tomatoes boil, put a round, metal rack, such as a cake-cooling rack, at the bottom of your canning pot. Then fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil.
When you are done cooking the tomatoes pour the boiled tomatoes into a your jars and make sure that you leave half an inch of space at the top of the jar. Add some canning salt and lemon juice to each jar. It is critical when you are canning your tomatoes, whether you are canning them whole, crushed or juiced to acidify them during the canning process. Adding lemon juice (or citric acid) will lower the pH of all the tested varieties enough to allow for safe boiling water bath canning. When you are done filling the jars wipe the rims of the jars dry with a clean cloth. Place the lids on the jars, rubber sides down and then tightly screw on canning rings.
Water Bath The Jars
The following step will be placing the jars in a canning pot. You can make use of a jar lifter and make sure the jars are not touching each other or the sides of the pot. Add water, if it necessary so that the jars are covered with at least 2 inches of water. When you are done bring the water back to a boil. Put the lid on the pot once the water is boiling and let it boil for about forty minutes or so. When ready remove the jars from the boiling water. Set the jars on a rack or countertop and cover them with a towel and let them cool for about 48 hours. The jar lids should make a pinging noise as they seal. Do not forget to check the jar lids to make sure that they are sealed. Each lid should be concave once the jars have cooled. Your tomatoes should be ready to store in a cool place. You should label the jars with the contents and date, and store them in a cool pantry until you are ready to use.
Tips For Canning Tomatoes
It is always best to sterilize the tools and materials you need to use when canning tomatoes. Make sure that you sterilise the jars, rims, and lids. Consider preparing the jars in boiling water because this is crucial from a sanitation point of view. Also, there are many methods for canning that tell you to soap-wash or boil the rims and seals as well. It is always best to take the time you need with prepping your tools and jars so that your end product will be shelf-safe for a long period of time. Another important factor to consider is using unused seals. Lids with their seals are only good for one use. Once you have consumed all of the vegetables from the sealed jar, toss them or recycle them. Lastly, do not forget to check your jar for cracks or chips because that will prevent your lids from sealing properly. You can use quart-sized canning jars but keep in mind that they are often too large when it comes to canning in normal kitchen pots. Never consume canned tomatoes if the jars are leaking or if the tomatoes develop a bad smell.