Leaving your tomatoes in the chiller is not enough to keep them fresh. If you want to prevent your sweet, zesty tomatoes from turning sour, you’ll have to preserve them. Here’s a full guide on how to can tomatoes!
RELATED: Superfood Series: Tomatoes
Beginner’s Guide on How to Can Tomatoes Like a Pro
What You’ll Need:
- freshly picked tomatoes
- glass jars for canning
- pot for boiling water
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- pressure canner
Step 1: Prepare the Materials
The first thing you need to do is to boil a large pot of clean water. Make sure to have enough water to submerge all your tomatoes. If not, you’ll have to blanch by batch.
While waiting for the water to boil, use your knife to make a small x mark under every individual tomato. Afterward, fill a large bowl with ice and water then position it near your pot of boiling water.
Step 2: Blanch the Tomatoes
Before canning tomatoes, you’ll have to get rid of the skin. Now, you can do so manually using a sharp knife, but there’s a high chance you’ll end up ruining the veggies.
Instead, opt to blanch them. Submerge the tomatoes in the pot of boiling water for around one minute. Afterward, scoop them out using a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water nearby.
The goal here is to soften the tomato skins by boiling them in water for a minute. Then, submerging the hot tomatoes in ice water stops the cooking process.
Step 3: Peel the Tomatoes
Once the tomatoes have cooled down, it’s time to peel their skins off. Given that the tomatoes have already been blanched, the skins should come off with ease.
Stick your knife on the x mark under the tomato then slowly rip the skin. Set the peels and tomatoes aside in two separate plates.
Pro Tip: Don’t throw the peels away! Bake them for two hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit to dehydrate them and turn them into crunchy crisps. Dried tomato crisps are a great, nutritious alternative to unhealthy snacks such as potato chips, fries, and chocolates.
Step 4: Sterilize the Jars
Now it’s time to clean the jars and lids. This step is very important since a dirty can filled with bacteria won’t be able to preserve the freshness of your tomatoes, or any veggie for the matter.
Keep the large pot of water boiling on high heat then submerge all jars for 10 minutes. Remove using a pair of tongs, set aside, then submerge the lids and rings next.
Step 5: Stuff and Can the Jars
Scoop in two tablespoons of lemon juice into each empty, sterilized jar. The acidic properties will help keep the tomatoes fresh.
Then, stuff the jars with as many tomatoes as you can. You don’t necessarily need to learn how to can whole tomatoes. In fact, it’s a given that some of them will turn to mush.
Step 6: Seal the Jars
Finally, it’s time to seal the jars. Readers will be glad to know that there’s an easy way how to can tomatoes without a canner. And that is to boil them!
Place the lid and rings on, submerge in boiling water for 45 minutes, then set aside to cool off.
To test if the canning process worked, opt to open one of the jars. If you hear a popping sound, then you were able to seal the jars properly. But if you don’t, you’ll have to redo the whole thing.
Check out this video by Pro Home Cooks on how to can tomatoes by the bulk:
Tomatoes are notorious for their short shelf life. In fact, even a freshly picked tomato from your own garden will turn bad if left alone for a day or two. The same rule applies to tomato juice.
Luckily, canning allows you to preserve your tomatoes. If you do the canning and sealing correctly, you might even be able to extend your crops’ lifespan from a few days to almost two years! So if you don’t want to waste crops, you definitely have to learn how to can tomatoes.
Do you have any more questions on how to can tomatoes? Post them in the comments section below!
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