Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Canning Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Canning Tomatoes Made EASY!!!

               Home canned tomatoes.......YUM!!! Every summer it seems like I have a bunch of tomatoes I have to end up canning (well I plan it that way) wink! Well this year was a great success, we had lots of tomatoes. The boys helped me pick them and Bruce was a huge help in the canning dept. this year....and what was so funny every time he would tell me something I already knew.....since I have been canning tomatoes since I was in my very early 20' Grandma Galbreath always canned everything and when I would stay at her house, she would say "listen to the pop" when the cans would seal you could here the pop....of course it made me listen and I tell my kids that too now. Several have been asking me to show them how to can tomatoes.....well now they can visit the blog!!! YAY!

First wash and inspect all of your jars for nicks, cracks, any breaks (discard if any are seen). You don't want to have any types are cracks in the glass or dings because they can cause breakage in heat changes, and bacteria can grown in the cracks.  You can buy jars HERE

Begin by filling up your canning pot with regular tap water, place the jars carefully into water submerging them (you can also just use a small amount of water to make steam) you are making sure that you kill any bacteria on the jars before placing the tomatoes in the jars. Cover the pot and allow approx. 5 minutes to steam the jars.
Cover your pot and allow the jars to steam for approx. 5 MINUTES and then the jars will be ready to fill, leave the jars in the hot water (approx. 180 degrees) until you are filling each jar, remove as needed from water bath canner.
Once you have your jars ready (or while getting the jars ready) boil some water on the stove top with a metal strainer of some sort like pictured. This will be the water that you will dip the tomatoes in to make the skins blanch.
Now place the already cleaned tomatoes in the boiling water (inside the metal strainer basket)
watch for the skins to crack or split. See pic below.
Once they split they will be ready to dumped from strainer into cold water.
While the tomatoes are cooling some in the cold water (just a few minutes or until you can touch without burning yourself) begin inspecting lids (flats) and rings. Make sure there is no rust, no dents, misshaped flats (lids). You will now place the flats in a pan with water of a temp approx. 180 degrees. I use a thermometer so not to get too hot. Canning jars can be purchased HERE
Using the thermometer for the flats (lids).
You can buy a thermometer HERE
Now start peeling off the hot tomatoes to remove skins and core. Remove bad spots and/or green areas. If the tomato looks questionable I smell it....if it smells ok then its fine...but if has a sour smell or just plain weird smell discard.
Once you are done peeling place large pot on stove top to allow tomatoes to boil, I usually crush my tomatoes but you can leave whole just add water as needed. I like to crush them so I can add to soups, make tomato pudding, add to chili....its endless. The whole ones take up to much jar space...I can get more crushed tomatoes in the jars which is less shelf space too. If you like to crush them I use a potato smasher at this stage.
Using the potato smasher to crush the tomatoes.
The tomatoes will look like this crushed.
While to tomatoes are coming to a boil, begin to prepare your area for putting the tomatoes in jars, your jars are still in the water bath canner. I got a new canning tool set this year.....which I still have my stuff from my early 20's...and it still works! Sometimes I use several funnels so we needed to have an extra one. The canning kit can be purchased HERE
You will need canning salt, lemon juice. I showed you the canning salt bag also. You can buy it HERE. I buy it at the hardware store, and at Wal-Mart. Wherever they sell canning supplies.
The tomatoes will look like this when they are ready to be put in jars. They will get a foam on top no worries....
Again I visually inspect the jars again (they are hot) I use the jar lifters (sold HERE) to take the jar out of the water bath canner. Place the funnel on the jar and then begin pouring the tomatoes in the jar.
Ladle the tomatoes out of the pot, and into the jar with the funnel.
Ladle the tomatoes into the funneled jar. Be careful not to splash to avoid burns.
This is where you will place the lemon juice I Tablespoon for each pint jar, I only use quarts but for smaller families a pint is better. 2
Tablespoons for quart jars. See pic below.  Also add the canning salt 1/2 teaspoon for pint jars. 1 Tablespoon for quart jars of the canning salt. I add this on top to avoid any temperature changes, versus adding to bottom. However you could ladle one ladle full of tomatoes in the funnel topped jar and then add the lemon juice and canning salt.  Now remove the funnel and wipe the jar rim with a towel, I use a kitchen towel with a damp side and a dry side. Wipe first the rim with the wet side then, dry side. Remove the flats from the water pot and dry, now place on the clean rim of the jar. Using the hot pad to place the ring on jar and gripping tightly to tighten jar. Now set aside on a towel until you have all the tomatoes in the pot in jars. Your water bath canner will now be empty of empty jars. The water is still hot (if not you will need to heat back up but not to a boil) with the jar tongs SLOWLY place the hot tomato jars into the water bath canner which you will already have your elevated basket rack (that came with the water bath canner) it looks like THIS 
Adding the lemon juice. Directions one pic up.
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to pint jars
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to quart jars
Note the air bubbles and the headspace left you will want about a 1/2 inch space for the tomatoes. If you overfill remove with a spoon, re-wiping rim of jar if you spill any tomatoes on the rim.
Now using a spatula like pictured above that will come with a water bath canning kit
look HERE to remove the air bubbles just SLOWLY move wand pressing back and forth around jar to remove any trapped air. DO IT SLOWLY as to not create more air.
This is where the lids (flats) were in the 180degree water waiting for you to place on the rim of the jar. Remove with the magnetic wand that comes in the canning kit again, see links above.
Here is where you will wipe the rim of the lid, first with the wet side of cloth and then once with the dry side. Making sure there are no tomatoes left on the rim.
Once you take the flat from the water using the magnetic utensil use a dry kitchen towel dry off the flat and place on the rim of the jar.
Using the hand towel (since the jar is HOT) place ring on flat and tighten.
Place the jars SLOWLY into the hot water. Do not drop.
Once all jars in the canner you can place lid on water bath canner and cover until they begin to boil and process for 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. Then remove lid and allow to cool down before removing from the canner. I use a towel to place them on to cool. You will here that POP that is the seal on the can.
Boiling the water in the canner.
YAY!!! Done!!! Take and tap on each lid to see if it sealed once cooled. If it did not seal use immediately or refrigerate  up to one day. The lid will be tight and will not move up and down. Now sit back and look at the art of canning you created!! Bravo! Now label your jars with the date and tomatoes.
These were some of my tomatoes this year.....they were huge! Very taste too!
Look at all the tomatoes.
Washed and clean tomatoes ready to go in the pot to blanche.
Look at what we got from the garden in one picking. Dusty loves to help work in the garden. Look how nice the cucumbers are. Dusty had just had his birthday party like the day before when we took the pic.
This pic was taken at Target but I wanted to remind you if you have not gotten them this year do so. They are sold here as a #1 Seller HERE. They also had them at Michael's Arts and Crafts. These would be so good for a wedding, a party....we even made the straw cups out of them. You can go HERE to see them (her blog is so much fun) you will be there away too!
I also have the steps to blueberry jam HERE
Also want you to invest in a Ball Blue Book, I have several copies of this from the first one I bought in 1990, and one around 2000 and the newest one I bought this past summer. Things change in them so PLEASE keep yourself up to date in the changes in the canning world.
You can find a copy HERE
 also check out the many books that Amazon or Barnes and Nobles have to offer on canning...use the search canning books.
Thanks for stopping by.....feel free to ask me any questions.

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