How Do You Can Your Tomatoes.....This Is A Test :-)

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. :-)



Candy C. said...

Canning tomatoes is on my "to do" list this year. I canned salsa last year and I'm hoping to get enough tomatoes this year to put up some sauce and just plain canned tomatoes. I will remember your words of wisdom and follow the Ball Blue Book! :)

Debi said...

Thanks for all the advice. It's true, we can the way our mama's can and before them and so on. Oh, congrats on "Brady". Hope the family is doing well.

labbie1 said...

Fifty! Thanks for the advice!

Renata said...

I loved this advice - I'm currently planting tomato seeds ( I need to write down your advice about lemon juice as I only have a water bath at the moment (dreaming of a pressure canner).
Thanks for a wonderful post!

Grace said...

I do plain tomatoes in the water bath with lemon juice. Stewed tomatoes or spaghetti sauce or any tomatoes I've added veggies to, I just don't take any chances with. Those go into the pressure canner.

Renata, I got my pressure canner off Craig's List for very little money. I just had to get a new rubber gasket and I was off and running!

dr momi said...

Excellent info Grace!! If there is not vinegar in your recipe and you are adding veggies to tomatoes (i.e. v-8 tomato juice) Please follow a recipe & pressure can!

About pressure canners on Craig's list, or rummage sales etc. GO FOR IT! All the parts for even really old canners can be bought for 1/3 the price of a new canner. My daughter bought one at a rummage sale for $5.00. Ordered a new gasket, safety valve, and a new canner for very little -- she's thrilled!

Nancy C said...

Thanks for the information, Grace. I didn't can any tomatoes this year -- still have too many from last year! :)