No idea how to deal with loads of fresh tomato harvest this gardening season? You would do well canning tomatoes and fully capturing the flavor of those vine-ripened fruits of your labor. Because isn’t that exactly why we plant fruits and vegetables in the first place? I’m sure a tomato gardener like yourself isn’t a huge fan of bottled tomato sauce that contains preservatives and chemicals and wrapped in packaging with BPA.
Don’t worry ’cause I offer a solution! Simply store the freshness, the flavor, and the nutrients of tomatoes through canning. Don’t waste those tomatoes. Store their wholesome goodness by preserving them. Read on to know more about how you can preserve your fresh harvest by canning tomatoes.
A Step By Step Guide to Canning Tomatoes the Easy Way
For those who want only the best for themselves and their family, canning tomatoes is a way to ensure a steady supply of fresh tomato goodness beyond gardening and harvest season. For people like me who just loves to eat and cook spaghetti, canned fresh tomatoes will come in very handy. What I like best about this is you get to enjoy the taste and freshness of tomatoes for a longer period of time. Now isn’t that just swell and practical? Find out how in this step by step guide.
What You Will Need For Canning Tomatoes:
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds of your choicest tomatoes
- Lemon juice
- Table salt
- Chopping board
- Paring knife
- Boiling water canner with lid
- Home canning rack
- preserving jars with lids and bands
- Large and deep sauce pan
- Wire basket
- Ladle and spoons
- Preserving utensil set (lid lifter, funnel, and bubble remover)
Step 1. Sterilize Jars
We all know poorly prepared food is an invitation to deadly bacteria. So before anything else, make sure the materials and ingredients are clean.
- Wash your jars properly in hot soapy water, then rinse and dry. If you don’t have jars available, you’ll love these 12-pack wide mouth mason jars, especially if you have a lot of tomatoes to can – click HERE to purchase!
- Heat jars and lid in hot water (but not boiling until ready for use). Jars need to be hot to prevent breakage.
Step 2. Prepare Tomatoes
After selecting and washing the tomatoes, you’re all set to prepare them for canning.
- To easily peel off your tomatoes, simply blanch them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until the skins start to crack.
- Quickly plunge your blanched tomatoes in cold water.
- Chop them into halves or quarters, cutting out the cores.
- Remove bruised or discolored portions (which will be apparent after peeling).
Step 3. Pack Your Jars
You can now begin packing your tomatoes into the jars. You can either do the raw pack method where you don’t need to heat the tomatoes or the hot pack method where you boil the tomatoes for five minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt into each of your preserving jars.
- Carefully fill the jars with the tomatoes. You can also use a funnel to pack your tomatoes nicely.
- Use a spatula to remove air bubbles trapped in your preserving jars. I prefer using a wooden spatula like this one.
- Clean the lids and the rest of the jars with a clean, damp cloth.
Step 4. Boil Jars
After filling them up, you can now boil your jars.
- Neatly place the lids and bands on your jars.
- Place filled jars in the wire basket carefully.
- Make sure the jars are covered with 1 to 2 inches of water.
- Cover your water bath canner, and bring to a gentle, steady boil for 45 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and take off the canner lid.
- Remove the jars from the canner and gently set them upright in a towel to prevent breakage.
Step 5. Quality Testing
Do the following steps to make sure you got the process just right:
- Leave the jars undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Don’t retighten the lids to avoid compromising the sealing process.
- Press your fingers on top of the lid to ensure they’re not flexing up and down.
- Remove one of each jar’s bands, and gently try to lift each lid with your fingers. Jars are sealed just right if the lid can’t be lifted off.
- If it does lift off, however, you can repeat the process, or refrigerate the jar.
Canning Tomatoes, Done!
Store your preserved tomatoes in a cool dark place. Make sure they’re placed where you can easily grab them anytime you need tomatoes for your delicious recipes.
Learn the whole process here in this video from Ball Canning:
Enjoy the flavors of your harvest even beyond the season with preserved tomatoes. It’ll be like having fresh tomatoes always ready, even in the cold of winter. Awesome, right?! I don’t know about you but I think I’m in the mood for cooking some spaghetti!
Canning tomatoes was easy, right? Do you have your own recipe? Let me know in the comments section below!
Struggling on how to grow juicy tomatoes? Check out this guide to growing tomatoes right.
Featured image via Flourgirl