Eating fresh tomatoes is a luxury that not all of us can have on a regular basis especially when winter is around the corner. Although there are a lot of us who can easily grow dozens of tomatoes in our gardens, you will have to store them properly if you want to consume them at a later time.
One of the best ways to store tomatoes and keep them edible for months is by canning. However, traditional canning techniques will require the use a pressure cooker. This can make it very difficult for those who do not own one, or for those who have no idea how to use a pressure cooker at home safely.
Fortunately, you can actually can tomatoes without the use of a pressure cooker. With the help of the right techniques, you can put your tomatoes in a jar and seal them so that they will stay fresh for several weeks or months. Just be mindful of what you are doing so you can avoid accidents and injuries.
When canning tomatoes, you need to make use of the right tools. Since we will not be using a pressure canner, you will have to spend a bit more time and effort in the canning. The tomatoes will need to be processed with heat and a water bath will be used to can the jars.
This will be used to boil water. The pot needs to be large enough to contain two or more jars for canning. You can use the same pot to boil the tomatoes. If you don’t have any, you can use an ordinary metal pot. You might be able to use a metal drum or 2 large baking trays for the water bath.
This will serve as the storage container of the tomatoes. You need to make sure that the jars and lids are made from high quality materials. They need to be clean and although you might be able to reuse old mayonnaise jars, I highly recommend that you use new ones instead.
This will be used to peel the skin of the tomatoes. You will also need to use this to remove the stem and the bottom of the tomato. You can also use an apple corer especially if you have to process very large crops.
This will be used to stop the cooking process of the tomatoes as they go out of the hot water. You can use cold water or tap water if ice is not readily available.
The other things you will need include:
The first thing you need to do is to wash the tomatoes and put them in boiling water for one minute or until their skins begin to wrinkle. Use the large stock pot to boil the water in high heat and put your tomatoes in it as soon as it boils. Remove the tomatoes afterwards and put them in ice or ice cold water.
You just want to blanch the tomatoes so that you can easily remove the skin. With a paring knife, take the skin off of the tomatoes. Remove the stems and the cores too. Afterward, you can cut the tomatoes in half or in chunks so you can maximize the space available in each Mason jar.
You can opt to use the tomatoes as is. But if you want to make sure that they will not easily spoil, you can heat the chopped tomatoes on medium heat in another pot. Stir the mixture frequently but carefully. Do not boil the tomatoes. You can also add the juice of a lemon once they are cooled.
As for the jars, you need to wash them with dishwashing soap, and then rinse them. You can also opt to sterilize them first by pouring hot water inside the jars and by boiling the lids. As soon as the jars have been cleaned and sterilized, you can either use them while they are still warm, or you can let them dry.
Now that the tomatoes and the jars have been processed, you will then need to put the cut tomatoes inside the jars. Avoid spilling the tomatoes all over the place especially if they are hot. Fill the jars and leave only a one-inch space on top. Press the tomatoes to maximize the space and to release excess air.
You can insert the handle of a spoon into the bottom of the jar to release all the bubbles. Wipe the jar carefully as any tomato residues left on the outside can rot and spoil the entire jar. Afterward, place the lid and screw it as tightly as you can.
Using the large stock pot, heat enough water to cover two to three inches above the lids of the closed jars. Submerge the jars in the heating water, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. After the pot has boiled, remove the lid of the pot and let it the jars stay inside the pot for 85 minutes.
Once the time is up, you can remove the jars and let them cool overnight. The lids must be sucked-in so you will know that the canning was a success. Do not store the jars that have not sealed properly as well as the ones that have leaked. The tomatoes can now be stored for up to a year.
Canning tomatoes can be done even if you do not have a pressure cooker. By using the water bath technique, you can easily store your tomato harvest so you can use them later on especially during winter when fresh vegetables are either scarce or expensive.
Just keep in mind that in order to can the tomatoes properly, everything needs to be cleaned and sterilized. Since this process requires the use of heat as well as glass jars, you need to be very careful as simple mistakes can lead to serious injuries.
Label the glass jars after canning with the name and date so you will know when a jar will expire. If one of the jars contains bubbles, or if one of them smells rotten, discard it right away. Improper canning or storage, as well as other factors can cause the bacteria to develop inside the jars.
My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.