I love home grown tomatoes! And I love that our tomatoes have been steadily turning red in our garden so we have fresh tomatoes daily. We only planted four tomato plants this year, but it’s been plenty for what we’ve needed.
I noticed this past year that I’ve been using more tomatoes in recipes. I plan to put up multiple batches of tomatoes so I have enough to last through the year. It’s nice not to have to go to the store and buy a can of tomatoes. I can just run downstairs and grab a jar from my food storage.
If you haven’t canned tomatoes before, it’s so easy. You do need to pick up some supplies such as a water-bath canner. Both Amazon and Walmart have canners for about $20. I also recommend purchasing a Home Canning Utensil Set, which is about $13. The utensil set makes it easier to can items. You’ll also need some quart-size jars with lids and rings, and you’ll be ready to go. Here’s a basic step-by-step process to can tomatoes.
1. Fill a large pot 2/3 full of hot water, and heat until boiling (This pan will be used to boil the tomatoes). Also fill a large pot with water and heat until boiling (This water will be used to pour over the tomatoes in the jar). In addition, fill the water bath canner with hot water and start to heat it up.
2. Wash and rinse jars. Leave them in hot water in your sink until you need them.
3. In a medium-size pan, fill with hot water and place on the stove to simmer. Place lids in the simmering water (not boiling) and keep them there until needed.
4. Choose tomatoes that are fresh, firm, and red-ripe. Wash the tomatoes. Place them in the large pot of boiling water. Remove them after about 30 seconds or as soon as the skin starts to crack. Then place them into cold water in your sink.
5. Remove one jar from the hot water in the sink. Add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt to each quart.
6. Take the tomatoes from the cold water and cut out the cores and remove skins. Leave the tomatoes whole or cut them in half and pack the tomatoes in the jar. Pour hot water over the tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
7. Run a nonmetallic spatula between tomatoes and jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe the top and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth. Remove one lid from the simmering water with tongs and place it flat on top of the jar so the sealing compound is against the jar. Screw a band down firmly.
8. As each jar is filled, stand it on the rack in the canner of hot, not boiling, water. Once the rack is full, lower it into the canner. The water should cover the jars 1 to 2 inches. Add more hot water if necessary. Place the cover on the canner, and bring the water to a boil. Process quarts 45 minutes at a gentle but steady boil.
9. Remove jars from canner and set on a cloth on the counter. Place the jars several inches apart from each other. Do not retighten bands. Allow to cool about 12 hours. Remove bands and test seal. Wipe off the outside of the jar, label and date the top, and then store jars in a dry, dark, and cool place.
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