Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Canning Tomatoes with Friends, it Take's Two!

Let the canning lesson begin!

Ms. Elaine, one of my best friends and I decided that this year we were going to can tomatoes, green beans and corn.

So far no green beans, you can blame it on the lack of rain; however several weeks ago the tomato harvest was in full bloom! Our usual Saturday ritual of yoga, farmers market and breakfast turned into a last minute preparation to can on Sunday afternoon.

Elaine grew up canning with her Mom; however she had not tried her hand at canning tomatoes since she lost her mum many years ago. 

Here’s what we learned: It takes two! We followed the directions in the book that came with Elaine’s Mothers Pressure Canner and I think Elaine’s Mum would be proud!

We planned on 50 pounds of fresh ripe tomatoes and Bill from The Specialty Farmer, Inc had a truck load of fresh organic tomatoes that were ready for canning. Once the tomatoes start to crack and sit in the hot summer heat they will begin to put off a very unpleasant smell. So be prepared to can when the tomatoes are ready, they will not wait for you. I found many websites that provide in-depth information on canning and they suggest adding lemon juice, our recipe did not call for lemon juice and since Elaine has used this recipe for years  we followed the instructions. Elaine has already made tomato soup from one of her pints, which she said was beyond delicious!

Here’s what we used:
Recipe called for 50 lbs of fresh ripe tomatoes; however some of the tomatoes were really ripe so Bill loaded us up, probably 70 pounds because although the tomatoes were fresh off the vine with such high temps the tomatoes start to spoil rather quickly.
Sharp paring knife – Cut out the bad parts and if it smells, well do I need to tell you to cut until all you smell is fresh tomato. Now we know where the term “Rotten Tomatoes” comes from.  Elaine said they always canned as the tomatoes ripened, so she never experienced the tomatoes starting to smell.  
24 Pint jars and 7 Quart canning jars
New Lids with sealsboil, remove with tongs and air dry right before you start canning
Large Pot to boil the tomatoes in
Large Spoon with slates to remove the tomatoes from boiling water
Large bowl to cool the tomatoes, we both had a huge Tupperware bowl with the green lid, check in your kitchen you probably have one as well…
Large spoon to push out the air in the jars and pack in the tomatoes
Pressure Canner ~ we used Elaine’s Mother’s and it still does the job!
Salt ~ Just a pinch per jar

Place a large pot on the stove and bring to a boil.

Rinse off the tomatoes and use you’re pairing knife to cut out any bad spots, the tomatoes should smell fresh. Place in the boiling water, we had a variety of sizes so we just put 5 to 6 in the large pot, don’t crowd them. 

It only takes 1 to 2 minutes for the tomato peel to start falling off. Once they start to peel use your large slated spoon to remove the tomatoes and drop immediately in a bowl of cold water, the peel should fall right off.

Next cut the tomatoes in quarters and put in the jars, using a spoon to pack the

jars. You need about ½ to 1 inch from the lid so they will seal properly. 
This is really important: Make sure you clean and dry the rim of the jar so they will seal properly!

Next stack the jars in the canner per the instructions, seal and turn on the heat. We waited for the “Jiggling” sound, then we waited for the sound of the steam escaping…Make sure you pay close attention and follow the instructions for your canning equipment!

Once the canner cools remove the jars from the canner and wait for the sound of the lids to pop, which indicates that the jars are sealed. 

We decided to leave the jars to cool at Elaine’s and I planned to pick them up the following Saturday. I had pictures to carry me over until I proudly placed the jars in my pantry! I can’t wait until I crack open the first jar and I will let you know what I make with them. Soooo many recipes to try….

For a more in-depth process on canning go to simplycanning, 
youtubePickYourOwn - Canning tomatoes made easy and illustrated, love this site they even use the font that I love!

Thank you Elaine and of course Chloe for sharing your kitchen, I can't wait for our next cooking adventure! 

Do you have a canning story to share?

Just cook something, or can something! Cheers! Kary~ 

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