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How To Can Your Own Tomatoes

Tomatoes seem to be a very common thing for people to have on their garden, so I want to provide one more tutorial on canning (see the previous chicken stock tutorial). Tomatoes are relatively easy to can, and you can use them for a variety of things like soups, chili, sauces and more – so they’re great to add to your pantry and food storage.

Preparing Your Tomatoes

The first thing you want to do is put a pot of water on the stove and get it started, so it will be boiling once you’re done with these steps.

Get one large mixing bowl and fill it with ice water. Place another empty bowl next to it.

Gather your organic tomatoes and wash them. This is about 7 pounds of tomatoes.

Then you want to core the stem out of each tomato.

Next, you want to make a light score with a knife around the entire tomato (this will make it easier to remove the skin).

After that, place 4-6 tomatoes in the boiling water for 30-45 seconds, or until you see the skin start to slightly curl around the score.

Transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the ice water. Put another 4-6 tomatoes in the boiling water. Then, quickly remove the skin from the tomatoes in the ice water and place in the empty bowl. The skin should peel right off.

As soon as you are finished peeling those tomatoes, move the tomatoes from the pot to the ice water and repeat until all of your tomatoes are peeled.

Clean your jars and fill them with hot water. Place them on a towel with your other canning tools. At the same time, put all of your lids into a small pan and boil them.

Put your pressure canner on your stove and put 3 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in it (check that your canner follows these same directions). If you’re using a water bath, follow the directions that came with it. I like to start getting it heated up now.

Dump the water out of one jar and fill it with halved or quartered tomatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of organic lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of sea sat. Use the bubble remover tool to be sure there are no air bubbles in the tomatoes. Use your headspace measurement tool to be sure you have ½-inch of headspace.

While I have never had a problem with that amount of headspace with standard canning lids, I did have a lot of liquid escape out of 2 of the jars when I used the TATTLER reusable canning lids, so I’ll probably try ¾-inch headspace next time (the lids go down into the jar a bit).

Then use a damp towel to wipe the top of the jar. Carefully place the lid over the jar and screw the band on to fingertip tight. If you’re using the TATTLER reusable lids, be sure to follow their directions precisely.

Using your jar lifter, move the jar to your pressure cooker. Repeat with each of your jars until you’re out of tomatoes or your canner is full. Mine holds 7 quarts, but I only had 4 quarts and 1 pint of tomatoes from 7 lbs. So a good estimate is ~2 pounds of tomatoes per quart jar.

For the canning portion, please follow the directions that come with your pressure canner (or water bath if you’re using one). Canner directions may vary by brand.

When you are ready to take the jars out of your canner, use the jar lifter to transfer them to the towel (don’t place them directly on your counter). After they are cooled completely (usually overnight), remove the rings, check the lids to be sure they sealed, label the jars and put them in your pantry or food storage.

And you’re done! It’s so great to have canned tomatoes that are easy to grab during the winter!

If you have questions about any of the tools used to can tomatoes, be sure to read my post on canning supplies.

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