Other than peaches, tomatoes are our favourite fruits to can for the winter, and are very simple to do. If you don’t add a lot of other ingredients, tomatoes have enough acid to be processed using a water-bath canner instead of a pressure canner. Follow the instructions carefully and you will have tomato goodness all through the winter.
Home Canned Tomatoes
Check your bottles for any flaws, nicks or other damage. You want them to seal. Make sure the rings are in good shape & fit the jars. Unless you purchased reuseable lids, (Click to see where we got our BPA-free lids!) use new lids every time you do any canning!
Wash the jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Fill your canner with the jars and heat to simmering. Put the lids in a metal bowl and pour boiling water over them. Set the lids aside, keeping them hot but not boiling. You will grab them one at a time as needed.
To blanch the tomatoes you will need to fill a large saucepot with water & bring to boil. (It is very handy to have a wire basket to put the tomatoes in and out of the water.)
Use fresh ripe tomatoes that are still firm. For each litre jar you will need about 3 lbs, so for a canner full of seven jars, you need about 21 pounds. If you are doing 500 ml jars, you need just over 10 pounds. Wash the tomatoes. I like to score the skins of the tomatoes with a little x so they split easily.
A few at a time, place tomatoes in wire basket and lower into your saucepot of boiling water and keep an eye on them. Blanch tomatoes for only 30 to 60 seconds or until skins start to crack. Remove from boiling water. Dip immediately in ice water.
Slip off skins; trim away any really green areas or marks and cut out the core if desired. Leave tomatoes whole if they are small or cut into halves or quarters. We have also done chopped tomatoes.
One at a time, remove a canning jar from hot water with a jar lifter; set jar on towel. Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar. If desired, you can add 1/2 tsp salt to each pint (500 ml), 1 tsp per quart (1 litre)
Using a canning funnel, carefully pack tomatoes into hot jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Slide a nonmetallic spatula between tomatoes and jar; press back gently on tomatoes to release trapped' air bubbles going around inside of the jar. Add boiled water or tomato juice to refill the jar back up to 1/2 inch headspace.
Wipe rim and threads of jar with a dean, damp cloth. Remove lid from hot water with tongs. Place lid on jar, centering sealing compound on rim. Screw band down evenly and firmly, just until resistance is met-fingertip tight.
As each jar is filled, set it into the boiling-water canner. Water in canner should be kept at a simmer (180°F or 82°C). After all jars are filled and placed onto the rack the water must cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.
Put lid on canner. Bring water to a boil. Start counting processing time after water comes to a rolling boil. Process pints 40 minutes, quarts 45 minutes, at a gentle but steady boil for altitudes at or below 1,000 feet above sea level.
When processing time is complete, remove jars from canner and set them upright, 1 to 2 inches apart, on a dry towel to cool. Do not re-tighten bands. Let jars cool 12 to 24 hours.
After jars have cooled, check lids for a seal by pressing on the center of each lid. If the center is pulled down and does not flex, remove the band and gently try to lift the lid off with your fingertips. (this was in the Canning Blue book, but I do not do it. I never know how hard to pull!) If the lid does not flex and you cannot lift it off the lid has a good vacuum seal. Wipe lid and jar surface with a clean, damp cloth. Label. Store jars in a cool, dry, dark place.
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