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Canning Tomatoes: A Step-by-Step

G’day, mates! Today we’ll dive into the world of canning tomatoes – a valuable skill for those looking to be self-sufficient and prepared for whatever life throws our way. This article will cover the basics of canning tomatoes, taking inspiration from the top articles on the subject.

Why Canning Tomatoes is Essential

Canning tomatoes is a great way to preserve them for long-term storage, making them an excellent resource for mixing all types of food, particularly pasta or burger. Not only are they a delicious and versatile ingredient, but they’re also packed with essential nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants. By canning tomatoes, you’ll have a ready supply of healthy food that can be used in various recipes when fresh produce might be scarce.

You can also ferment tomatoes, but that is a post for another day. Today we focus on canning, my new hobby, so to speak. I am still starting out but as part of the struggling homestead story, we start with this. 

Choosing the Right Tomatoes for Canning

When it comes to canning tomatoes, selecting the right type is crucial. The best varieties for canning are paste or Roma tomatoes, as they have lower water content and more flesh, which results in a thicker, more flavourful end product. Be sure to choose ripe, blemish-free tomatoes for the best results.

If you’d like to learn more about selecting the perfect tomatoes, you can check out our guide on choosing tomatoes.

Materials You’ll Need for Canning Tomatoes

Before you start canning tomatoes, gather all the necessary materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Jars with new lids and bands
  • Large pot for boiling water
  • Canning rack
  • Jar lifter
  • Clean towels or paper towels
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Salt or lemon juice (optional)

Canning Tomatoes: Step-by-Step Process

Now that you’ve got all your materials, it’s time to start canning those tomatoes!

  1. Wash and sterilise jars and lids. Before canning, ensure your jars and lids are clean and sterile by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. Set them aside on a clean towel or paper towel.
  2. Prepare tomatoes. Rinse tomatoes thoroughly and remove any stems, leaves, or blemishes. Cut a small “X” on the bottom of each tomato.
  3. Blanch tomatoes. Place tomatoes in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool. This makes it easier to peel the skins off.
  4. Peel and core tomatoes. Gently remove the skins and cut out the cores. You can cut tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on your preference.
  5. Pack jars. Place tomatoes in the sterilised jars, pressing down to remove air bubbles. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt or one tablespoon of lemon juice per pint (optional).
  6. Seal the jars. Wipe the jar rims with a clean, damp cloth to ensure a good seal. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands until they’re fingertip-tight. Don’t overtighten, as the air needs to escape during the canning process.
  7. Process the jars. Place the jars on a canning rack and lower them into a pot of boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Boil for 40-45 minutes (adjusting for altitude if necessary).
  8. Remove and cool the jars. Carefully lift the jars out of the pot using a jar lifter and place them on a clean towel or cooling rack. Allow the jars to cool completely for 12-24 hours.
  9. Check the seals. Once the jars have cooled, press down on the centre of each lid. If it doesn’t move, the jar is sealed correctly. If the lid pops up and down, the seal is not secure, and the jar should be refrigerated and consumed within a week.
  10. Store your canned tomatoes. Label your jars with the date and store them in a cool, dark place. Properly canned tomatoes should last for 12-18 months.

Troubleshooting Common Canning Problems

If you run into any issues while canning tomatoes, don’t stress! Here are some common problems and solutions:

  • Tomatoes floating in the jar: This can be caused by trapped air or under-packed jars. Pack the tomatoes tightly and remove any air bubbles before sealing.
  • Discoloured tomatoes: Discolouration may occur if the tomatoes were underripe or if there was a reaction with the jar’s metal lid. Adding lemon juice or vinegar can help prevent this issue.
  • Lids not sealing: Ensure the jar rims are clean and free of residue before placing the lids on. If a jar doesn’t seal, it may need to be reprocessed, refrigerated, and consumed quickly.

Canning tomatoes is an essential skill for anyone looking to be self-sufficient. With some practice, you’ll soon have a stockpile of nutritious, delicious tomatoes ready for any situation.

Happy canning!

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