Monday, August 13, 2007

Canning Tomatoes

This weekend my mom and I took part in our annual summer ritual of canning tomatoes. We've been doing this together for years and while we enjoy the quality time together, we also love the end product - jars of sweet Jersey tomatoes sealed at the peak of freshness just waiting to be opened and enjoyed some cold winter day.

This year we canned more tomatoes then we've ever canned before (and my sore body is still begging for mercy). We stood in the same place for more than 4 hours blanching, peeling and seeding all these tomatoes (plus another tray that was already in the kitchen when I took this picture):

... turning them into this:

By the time we were nearing the end of the fourth tray we were almost weeping in pain. After some serious stretching we cooked down all three pots of tomatoes and put them in these jars:

When all was said and done we had 31 jars of gorgeous ruby red tomatoes:

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  1. You know what would make an awesome present for your favorite longhairman friend?

  2. I am so jealous!!! :) I would love to have a huge garden and grow my own food. You are so lucky to be able to enjoy these homegrown treasures all year long!

    Is canning hard? Is there a recipe?

  3. JoJo - we didn't grow these tomatoes...they're from a local farmer's market. They sell baskets of canning tomatoes - ones with bruises or bad spots that they can't sell otherwise.

    Canning isn't hard, it's just time consuming to process everything. As a disclaimer, I don't think we follow the canning "rules" as strictly as others might think we should. We've been doing it the way my grandmother used to for years and have never had a problem, but there are serious canners out there who would be appalled that we don't process the jars after filling them.

    There's no real recipe - what we do is peel and seed the tomatoes and then cook them until they start boiling. We sterilize everything (ladle, plate the ladle rests on, tongs my mom uses to sterilize the jars, lids and rings, etc) and then we fill the jars with the boiling tomatoes, add the lid and tighten the ring. The heat causes the lid to pop, meaning it's vacuum-sealed. This is where we stop, but I think canning books recommend you then have this contraption that holds the jars in boiling water to further process them...I guess to kill any bacteria. Like I said, we've never had a problem the way we do it.

  4. Also, we never eat the canned tomatoes "raw" - they always get made into sauce or soup. And if we ever did open a jar and found it smelled bad or looked "off" we wouldn't use it.

    You can go here for more info.

  5. That's amazing! Wish I had the patience to do that!


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