Canning tomatoes

July 30, 2009

Scored a large box of tomatoes for canning and went to town on them this past week.  Came out of it with several tomato-stained shirts, a lot of tomato skins for the compost pile, and 6 pints each of crushed tomatoes, roasted tomato garlic soup, and chunky basil pasta sauce.  The pasta sauce was the most challenging, mainly because I had to simmer it for something like 3 hours (rather than the 40 minutes the recipe predicts), and it had an alarmingly sharp flavor at first due to all the vinegar (which you can’t reduce, since it’s necessary for making the recipe safe to can). The good news is that after all the simmering, the flavors mellowed and it turned out to be very tasty– bet it’ll be good on pizza as well as pasta.

The first time I canned tomatoes was many years ago, using the “Putting Food By” book as a guide. I had all these little yellow pear tomatoes, and believe it or not, I skinned them all and canned them up. Not sure we ever used them (my mother: “What do we DO with them?”  Me[exasperated]:” Mom, they’re TOMATOES.”), which is probably for the best, since Putting Food By doesn’t exactly use the most up-to-date canning methods– no acid (in the form of bottled lemon juice or citric acid) was added, so who knows what lurked within. Especially since they were Boiling Water processed, and they were yellow tomatoe s(already lower in acid than red tomatoes). Yikes.  Nowadays I not only go by the book, I make sure it’s the most up-to-date book available.

For the best info on canning tomatoes, visit the NCHFP website. If you have questions, visit the friendly and experienced crowd at the GardenWeb Harvest forum.

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