Thursday, September 15, 2011

Canning Tomatoes

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a few hours on Monday afternoon canning tomatoes.

This was only my second time canning anything ever. The first time was the salsa I made last year, which was pretty disappointing. The idea behind canning the tomatoes was that I like to make my own salsa and sauces, so why not preserve the fresh ingredients of the summer for later consumption? This time, I thought if I can tomatoes in their own juices I could use them for pretty much anything.

It's a much easier process than you'd think; I used instructions from Ball. Basically you wash and heat the jars and lids. You blanch the tomatoes and pull their skins off, leaving them whole or cutting them into halves or quarters.

Add a tablespoon of lemon juice (to balance the acidity), and pack them tightly into the jars. Put the lids on, and drop the full jars into boiling water for 40 minutes.

I ended up processing 6 pint jars of tomatoes. I didn't want to do more just in case it doesn't work the way I want it to. It'd be a shame to waste all though tomatoes (like I did with last years iffy salsa that I still have a couple jars of).

My only concern is that the tomatoes have mostly risen to the tops of the jars, leaving some liquid separation at the bottom. From what I understand this is normal, but I wouldn't want to poison anybody.

Luckily there are still a whole bunch of tomatoes left over to eat on their own, in salads, in salsa, and perhaps to make tomato soup.

Don't they look perfect?

Do you have any experience preserving tomatoes? Is this separation normal?
What kinds of things do you like to preserve?

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