Do you love tomatoes ripe, juicy, and fresh from the garden? Me too! I also love canning tomatoes to use in salsa, soups and spaghetti sauce.
The first thing you need to do (if you have not already) is read about tomato safety recommendations. There are a few things you need to remember.
Here's a tip!! If you need to thicken your tomato sauce for any recipe.... check this out, my favorite canning shortcut.
Tomatoes Whole or Halved ~ Instructions for putting up tomatoes packed raw and whole in their own juice. I like to have these jars on hand for soup or stew bases, chili, and other meals.
This little canning trick doesn't really save much time... but it is a definite labor saving method.
Stewed Tomatoes ~ A jar of stewed tomatoes is a versatile ingredient. Use it as a base for stews or chili. Pour it over a roast in a crock-pot, add some potato, onion, and carrots for an easy meal.
Unseasoned Tomato Sauce ~ Canning unseasoned tomato sauce is a snap.
Pouring stewed tomatoes over some meat in the crock-pot add potatoes, carrots and onions and you have an easy to prepare meal.
If you are making tomato sauce I'd suggest you use Roma Tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are meatier than other tomatoes. They work great when preserving tomato sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, ketchup and more.
Every year I plant several varieties in our garden. Last year I planted some yellow just for fun. I had some space left over in my garden and decided to try something new.
I always include one each of the prolific cherry tomato and pear tomato, just for my boys. These are for eating fresh whenever they want.
My 6 yr old eats them straight from the bush. He loves grazing through the tomato bushes as much as the raspberry bushes.... well almost.
Don't have room for a garden? Don't forget the CSA's and farmers markets.
Tomatoes have long been canned by the traditional boiling water bath method. However, USDA recommendations have changed. Tomatoes are very close to the safety borderline of acidity.
The most recent safety recommendations indicate that you should acidify tomatoes when waterbath canning. Add bottled lemon juice to the jars prior to processing. Add 2T of bottled lemon juice per quart and 1T per pint. This is a change from how it was done in our grandmother's day.
If you are canning tomato recipes with any other vegetable included, it is a low acid food and must be pressure canned. Some examples might be spaghetti sauce or stewed tomatoes.