Sunday, September 4, 2011
This year,we have had a good turn out with our Rutgers Heirloom tomatoes.We have 12 plants,which have given us about 12 lbs or so of tomatoes. According to Ball Blue Book,I need 45 lbs to can sauce,so obviously that wasn't going to happen this year. I didn't want to waste all the tomatoes I had laying on the window sill,or in the bowl,or on my table,so I decided to just can them in water and use them later.This was my first attempt at canning tomatoes,and I had heard that it was a lot of work (though I suspect those folks had far more tomatoes to can than I did!). I found it rather easy.Here is the recipe for raw pack tomatoes in water,whole,halved,or quartered in quart jars:
2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs tomatoes per quart
Bottled lemon juice
Make sure your jars are clean. Heat jars and lids in a sauce pot of simmering water ( 180 degrees).Do not boil the lids! Keep jars and lids in hot water until ready to use.Elevate rack in canner,and put the lid on the canner.Heat water to 180 degrees and keep hot.Make sure you have enough water in the canner so that the jars are covered by 1"-2" of water.
Use tomatoes at the peak of their quality,firm,and free of cracks,growths,and spots. Wash and drain. (My tomatoes did have some cracks,etc.,and I think they were a bit on the soft side,but I did it anyway).
Place tomatoes in a wire basket (I used a metal strainer) and lower into a large sauce pot of boiling water;blanch for 30-60 seconds,or until the skins start to crack.Remove from the boiling water and dip into cold water ( I filled one side of my sink with cold water).
Slip off the skins,trim away any green area,and cut out core. Cut tomatoes into quarters,halves,or leave whole. (I found it very easy to remove the skins;some tomatoes were small enough to leave whole,other I cut into halves).
Once the tomatoes are prepared, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice to quart jars,pack tomatoes into hot jars,leaving 1/2" head space.Ladle hot water into jars,leaving 1/2" head space. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each jar,if desired. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps. Place jars in canning rack and lower into water. Cover, bring to boil,and process for 45 minutes. When finished,remove lid to canner and let canner sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place on towel to cool.
One thing I noticed about the tomatoes is that they lost volume once they were canned. I stuffed those jars as tight as I could,and they wound up only half full,and mostly water at the end.Perhaps I didn't use enough? Has anyone who has canned tomatoes come out with the same result?