This canned tomato recipe is basic and easy to do. Canning tomatoes when they are in season gives you the opportunity to fill up the pantry.
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You can use any variety of tomato for canned tomatoes.
Roma's will have less water as they are a meaty tomato.
Beefsteak tomatoes are popular for canning because they are large and fill the jars quickly.
Use whatever you can purchase locally at a good price.
Start by getting your canning jars ready.
They need to be wash with warm soapy water and sterilized. See Below how to prepare the jars.
Wash the tomatoes.
Place several tomatoes in a large bowl in the sink.
Boil some water and pour the boiling water over the tomatoes to scald them. Let the tomatoes sit in the hot water for a couple minutes as the heat will loosen up the tomato skins.
Use a sharp little kitchen knife to cut out the hard stem area and to easily slide the skins off the tomatoes.
Place the peeled tomato into a large clean bowl and keep repeating this process until you have all your tomatoes peeled.
You may need to do in batches, depending how many tomatoes you are canning and boil fresh water as once the water cools down, the skins won't let loose.
You can leave the tomatoes whole or chop them into halves or quarters.
Add 1 rounded teaspoon pickling salt, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the bottom of each sterilized quart jar. (Half the amount if you are using pints.)
Stuff the jars with the tomatoes to three quarters of the way full and then use clean hands or a clean spatula to press the tomatoes down.
This will release the juices and fill the spaces between the tomatoes.
Keep filling and pressing the tomatoes down until you are 1/2 inch from the top rim.
Wipe the rim with a clean damp paper towel so there is not residue from the tomatoes on the glass.
Place the lid and ring onto the jar and screw on tightly but don't torque on it.
Have your canner on the stovetop with hot water in it.
Place the prepared jar into the canner on the rack in its elevated position.
Repeat with until all the jars are filled and place into the canner.
Gently lower the canning rack of tomatoes into the canner of hot water.
Make sure there is enough water to cover the jars by one inch.
Turn the stovetop onto high and when the water comes to a full boil, start timing.
Process in a boiling water bath 85 minutes for both quarts and pints. Size does not matter, it is the times that are important in the canning process.
When the time is up, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the canner for 10 minutes.
Use your canning tongs to carefully remove the processed tomatoes.
Have ready a couple old towels on your countertop.
Place the removed jars onto the towels.
They will be very hot. Just leave them to sit overnight before checking to see if they are sealed.
Sometimes they seal very quickly and sometimes they take several hours before you hear the distinctive "CLICK" as the lid seals shut.
The way to test if a jar is sealed is to press down in the center of the lid. If it is indented down and makes no noise it is sealed.
If it makes a clicking sound when you press down on it, it has not sealed.
If a jar does not seal, keep that jar in the refrigerator and use first within a couple weeks.
Store you beautiful canned tomatoes in a cool dark spot.
INFORMATION ON PROCESSING TIMES AND ALTITUDES
Adjusted processing times for higher altitudes:
1,001 – 3,000 ft, 90 minutes;
3,001 - 6,000 ft, 95 minutes;
above 6,000 ft, 100 minutes
IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING CANNING FACTS
When my grandmother canned tomatoes she only used pickling salt so why do we now need to add lemon juice and sugar?
It is said that today tomatoes don't necessarily have a high enough acid content to be considered safe using the water bath canning method.
Therefore it is suggested that we add the lemon juice to make this process safe.
When you add the lemon juice, it gives of a faint but definite taste.
You should use bottled lemon juice and not fresh lemon because the PH of the bottled is at a specific level that the fresh lemon juice may or may not be at.
Adding sugar offsets that taste.
The pickling salt that is still used is still a pure salt, and has no additives that can cloud the liquid
HOW TO STERILIZE JARS
Wash you canner with soap and hot water and rinse well.
Fill about half full with fresh clean hot tap water and put onto the stovetop.
Choose good quality canning jars and inspect them for cracks.
Always wash the jars, lids, and bands thoroughly in hot soapy water. Rinse well.
*TIP: Using a canner is convenient because you will need it anyways and once you have heated up the water, to sterilize the jars, you can also use that same water when it comes time to process.
Place the clean jars, right side up, into the canner placing each into a spot on the canning rack.
Set the canning rack to the down position. The jars will want to float and bob until they are filled with water so it’s a good idea to have a jar with water in it to pour a little into each jar to weight them down.
The jars need to be completely filled with water plus there should be one inch of water above the jars.
Bring the water to a boil and boil for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat.
Once the water is no long boiling use tongs to drop in the lids and seals. This will also serve to sterilize the tongs.
Leave the jars, rings and lids for a minimum of 10 minutes up to one hour but no longer.
If you go longer than one hour you will need to sterilize again.
When you are ready to pack a jar with tomatoes or whatever fruit you are canning, use the tongs to remove the jar from the water.
The water will be very hot so be careful. You will need to empty all the water out of the sterilized jar.
Set your jar onto a clean paper towel to cool for a minute.
Pack the jars with whatever you are canning and fill to 1/2 inch from the top.
Remove all the seals and jar rings and place them into a clean bowl.
As each jar is filled and ready, place a seal on top then screw on the ring.
Screw tightly, but do not torque hard on it.
Place the filled jar onto the countertop.
When you have all the jars filled transfer them to the canning rack which is in the up position.
Slowly let the rack down to the bottom position and process.
You want to use warm jars, so they do not crack when you place them into the canner of hot water.
If you use cold jars, you stand the risk of them cracking.