Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Canning Tomatoes

I have been channeling my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder lately.  I've decided to try canning and preserving this Summer, to be able to experience the glory of August during the dark days in February.  Are you with me?

I am going to make a series of small batch items - and with them record the recipe source, ingredients required to make minimum batch and the date processed.  That way in the middle of the Winter, when I taste what I have "put up," I will be able to flag the successes and replicate them next Summer. 

I scoured the local hardware stores and finally settled on the supplies that I needed.  My dad loaned me his giant enamel water bath canner (looks like a stock pot with a jar rack inside), so I only needed jars, labels and the Ball Utensil Set, which includes a Funnel, Magnetic Wand, Bubble Remover & Rubberized Jar Tongs.  The set is perfect and the magnetic wand is genius!

I started with canning tomatoes.  I bought my first peck of tomatoes at the farmer's market and after reading a few different canning and preserving books, I settled on this recipe for "Raw-Packed Tomatoes with No Added Liquid" from the Ball website.  I did not add any salt, which was optional.

It all went off without a hitch and the jars look gorgeous.  In case you are curious, these are the steps in a nutshell:
  • Wash tomatoes, core & cut "X" at base
  • Blanch in hot water to loosen skin; remove skin
  • Sterilize quart jars (I used dishwasher); Simmer lids in water
  • Fill jars with tomatoes and add lemon juice
  • Help tomatoes to settle with bubble remover tool
  • Wipe any residue off jar rim and use magnetic wand (to keep lid sterile) to place lid onto jar
  • Place in water bath and process according to instructions for approx 85 minutes
I have high hopes that these 7 jars will equal 7 nights of homemade spaghetti sauce, chili and more.  When I pop open my first jar this Winter, I'll let you know how it turns out.

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