|Not the best tomatoes this year.....these are destined for tomorrows Pico de Gallo|
Today I spent the morning at our local Farmers Market answering canning questions at the Master Food Preserver table. All I can say is....there's an awful lot of people canning "on the edge" out there. Usually they are canning like their mother showed them, who learned from her mother. A lot of science has been revealed since Grandma was canning, and therefore methods have changed.
Here was the "best" (not!) answer to my question "How do you can your tomatoes?" today.
"I heat the jars, and put hot tomatoes in them. I put on a 2 piece lid. It seals. Then I put them on the shelf. (...and then the qualifier came) It's how I've always done them, and how my mom did them, and how my grandma did them....and none of us are dead yet!"
May I just say..."your odds are getting closer after 3 generations :-)" Hot tomatoes into hot jars, add the lids...but then they must be processed. You can process tomatoes in the pressure canner or water bath canner. However, if you use the water bath, you must add lemon juice, (1 TBL./pint or 2 TBL./Qt.) or citric acid ( 1/4 tsp./pint or 1/2 tsp./qt.) to make sure the tomatoes are acid enough. New varieties of tomatoes are not as acid as they used to be, and the growing season conditions can make a big difference in the acidity that year.
Never assume because the lid seals on a jar that the product is safe. It's only safe if you have followed a tested recipe, and processed it with the right method for the correct amount of time. If you've done it all right, the top food scientist for the state of Wisconsin says its OK to eat "fifty years from now". You'll loose flavor, but you won't die from eating it. :-)