Thursday, September 13, 2012

Canning Diced Tomatoes

Yup, another tomato post.  I told you it's been a good tomato year!  This time I decided to can them.

It's easy to can tomatoes - it just takes a long time.  And yes, there are some important safety rules you need to follow.  They're simple - add acid (lemon juice), seal well and heat process jars for the right amount of time.

When you buy canned tomatoes in the store - what kind do you buy?  Do you buy whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes?  I buy diced tomatoes.  So that's what I decided to make - diced canned tomatoes - peeled of course.

Here's how:

1. Wash tomatoes.
2.  Peel tomatoes.  Make a small X on the bottom of the tomato, place it in boiling water for 60 seconds, transfer immediately to an ice water bath and peel.
3. Chop tomatoes and toss into a large pot.
4. Bring chopped tomatoes to boil for 5 minutes.
5. Pack hot tomatoes into clean, hot jars (they need to be hot so the jars won't crack, but they don't need to be sterilized because our hot water bath will be more than 10 minutes).
6. Add lemon juice to each jar.  VERY IMPORTANT to ensure your tomatoes acidity is high enough to discourage the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism.  Remember, the botulism bacteria grows inside well sealed jars - it's not good enough just to have a good seal - add the acid.  It's really no big deal.  Add 2 tbsp lemon juice per 1Litre or 1Quart jar.  Add 1 tbsp to each 500ml or 1Pint jar.
7. Seal with hot sealing lid.
8.  Place in hot water bath.  Boil litre or quart jars for 45 minutes.  Boil 500 ml or pint jars for 35 minutes.  Yes, it's a long time.  But what's the safety of your family worth?

For more safe, tomato canning options check out the National Centre for Home Food Preservation.

Note:  It took me 6 hours to can 10 Litres of diced tomatoes.  If it weren't for the lack of freezer space, I'd probably just stick to freezing.  My husband figures each can of tomatoes is worth at least $20.  What do you think, is it worth it?

1 comment:

WolfSong said...

It *is* worth it! Home canned tomatoes are so much better, IMO, than the store bought ones. I can't get my Kid to eat store bought, but home canned? I never have enough of them. ;)

I will add this though...if a person has a pressure canner, processing times drop dramatically-though you do have to factor in the initial venting-to 15 minutes for both pints and quarts. I've gone to pressure canning my tomatoes just so I don't have the big pot of boiling water on the stove.