We have had a surplus of tomatoes this summer. We haven't been able to use all of them quickly enough. So, we have already started canning so we can enjoy these guys into the winter. Last year was our first time canning and it was a bit overwhelming. If you have ever googled "canning, " you know what I am talking about. This year, our dear friend Allison helped it go a little more smoothly. I hesitate to write this post as we are by no means experts (Allison is though) in the matter, but I will tell you what we did in the simplest way possible.
First, you need to know the basics. We hot-packed these tomatoes. When canning, you must sanitize everything you use. To sanitize things, you boil them. So before you start, the actual tomato part, you need to boil your lids and bands and jars and tongs. Place everything in a big deep pot. Cover them with water and bring the water to a boil. Once it is boiling, set the timer for 10 minutes, remove everything with the sanitized tongs. You can set them on a cooling rack that has been cleaned with hot soapy water. Now you are ready for the tomato part.
1. Peel all of your tomatoes. This can be done with a knife or you could drop your tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, drop them into to ice cold water and then rub the skins off easily. We went with the knife method.
2. Quarter the tomatoes and place in a pot. We added a little salt here. Bring the tomatoes to a boil.
3. Add 1 Tbs. lemon juice (from a bottle) per pint jar. We used 3.
4. Pour/place tomatoes in the jars. Fill each jar up, leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Use a wooden skewer to shove all the tomatoes down and get rid of any air bubbles.
5. Place a lid on each jar and close with a band/rim.
6. Put all jars in a pot containing cold or room temperature water. Once the lids are in, make sure there is water covering the lids by an inch at least. Bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, process the jars for 35 minutes. These are pint jars we are using.
7. Remove from the water as soon as time is up.
Canning really isn't that hard once you have done it a few times and really try to understand what you are doing. It is, however, a long process and can be a lot of work. But, it will certainly be worth it when we are reaping the benefits of all of our hard garden work in the dead of winter. This is just the beginning of our canning adventures. We have a plethora of bell peppers so we are thinking maybe pepper jelly next?
Photos by: Nikki Berra/ Edited by: Savannah