Archive for August 25th, 2012

Canning Tomatoes

This year, I planted only four tomato plants. The varieties I selected were Big Beef, Beefsteak, Beefmaster, and San Marzano (a plum tomato). I planted nursery transplants in mid-March to give them a head start on the growing season. They grew quickly even in our mild early spring weather, when the highs were only in the 60s. By mid-July, they had ripe tomatoes.

Our Beefmaster tomato plant started to die before it produced many tomatoes. But our other three tomato plants have produced hundreds of tomatoes. Two weeks ago, I harvested all the tomatoes shown on the table in the above picture. We couldn’t possibly eat all of these tomatoes before they went bad, so I canned most them.

The San Marzano tomatoes are ideal for canning. The other varieties are often eaten fresh, but I decided to can all four varieties. I just canned them as plain tomato slices, which is a lot less work than making a tomato sauce first and then canning the sauce like I did in previous years.

I began by slicing each tomato into sections small enough to fit into the jars. Then, I removed the tomato seeds using my fingers, although I wasn’t able to remove them all. That part alone was at least 90 minutes of work for 2 people. I didn’t bother to remove the tomato skins. Removing the skins requires an additional step that is a lot of extra work for so many tomatoes. I don’t mind tomato skins in my food. I usually end up pureeing the canned tomatoes before I use them in a recipe anyway. But I don’t like lots of seeds floating around in the jars.

After cooking the sliced and de-seeded tomatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes using a hot pack method, I packed each jar with tomatoes and some lemon juice for extra acidity leaving about 1 inch of space from the top. Then I processed the jars in a pressure cooker canner at 10 psi for about 25 minutes. I filled about 18 jars with about 3/4 of the tomatoes. (if you use a pressure cooker, be sure to follow the product directions of use carefully). Tomatoes canned this way can be stored for up to a year at room temperature. I used this same technique last summer to can tomato slices. We used our canned tomatoes for more than 6 months before we ran out of them.

August 25 2012 | Tomatoes | Comments Off on Canning Tomatoes