Your Step by Step Guide to Canning Tomatoes

Making Your Own Canned Tomatoes is Easy and Lots of Fun!

Canning tomatoes is easy and simple. The end result is a pantry stocked full of tomatoes to use for meals throughout the year! Chili, spaghetti sauce, goulash and so much more can be made from your yummy tomatoes from the garden. In this article I will explain step by step how to turn your tomatoes fresh from the garden into canned tomatoes for their use later in the year. Many people refer to these canned tomatoes as stewed tomatoes; they taste yummy and are easy to make!

The first thing you need to do is get all your supplies ready. This means finding all your jars and washing them with hot soapy water. Examine each jar to be sure there are no cracks or chips. Examine the lids and bands to see that they are in perfect condition as well. This step is very important because if your jars are chipped the seal will not form and you will have an unsuccessful canning experience. For tomatoes you will need your boiling water canner, the rack to set the jars on, the canner lid and your canning tools. Canning tools include a jar lifter, small spatula, and funnel. You will also want some bowls to wash and prepare your tomatoes in and strainer to rinse them off.

After you have washed your jars, bands and lids you will want to rinse them well to remove all the soap. Place the jars in a large pot of simmering water, and place the lids in a small pot of hot water- but not boiling. Leave the jars and lids in the hot water and take them out one by one as you are ready to fill them with the tomatoes.

Fill your canner with water to about half way full. Begin hating the water and hang the jar rack on the edge of the canner so it is partially elevated from the canner bottom.

Use only blemish free tomatoes that have been harvested at their peak of freshness. Tomatoes that have cracks or bruises should not be used, unless you are dicing the tomatoes and then be sure to cut away all blemishes. Rinse the tomatoes well, and then blanch them in boiling water for about a minute so that their skins will start to peel. You can them finish removing the skins and prepare them to your liking. You can leave them whole, cut them in half, quarter them or dice them. You will want to be sure to remove the core and stem to prevent any hard pieces in your canned tomatoes.

Once the tomatoes are rinse, skinned and prepared, you will want to place them in boiling water for about 5 minutes. This will destroy any bacteria or microorganisms that may be living on the tomatoes.

You can then remove one jar from the canner. For each pint jar, add one tablespoon lemon juice, and for each quart jar place 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the jar. Pack the tomatoes into the jar leaving about half an inch of space on the top. Then ladel hot water into the jar to fill the air holes. You can then take your small spatula and press the tomatoes to be sure all the small air bubbles are released.

Wipe down the jar and place the lid firmly in place. Then place the band on and tighten lightly.

You can then place the jar onto the canning rack and proceed to fill the rest of your jars until your tomatoes are all gone. Once all the jars are full you can lower the canning rack into the canner. The water level must cover the tops of the jar with at least 1-2 inches. If you need to add more water, boil water and then place it in the canner.

You can then put the lid on the canner and bring the water in the canner to a full boil. Once the water is boiling, you can begin your preserving time. Tomatoes need to be boiling in the canner for 40 minutes if you are doing pint jars, and 45 minutes if you are using quart jars.

After the time is complete, turn the heat off and remove the lid. Allow the water to cool for 5 minutes and then you may very carefully remove the jars one by one. Place them on a towel and be sure to avoid handling the bands and lids. Never tighten the band after processing. Allow 12-24 hours for the cooling and sealing process to take place.

After cooling is done, test each jar for a tight seal by pressing on the lid. If the lid is tight, the jar is properly sealed, and you can place the jar into your pantry until you are ready to use it! If your jar is not properly sealed, you will have to start the process over with a new lid. Jars and bands may be used multiple times, but you can never reuse a lid.

I hope you have an excellent time canning those yummy tomatoes you have worked so hard for. Home canned tomatoes taste fresher and retain many more nutrients than commercially canned tomatoes. As the tomatoes ripen this year, pull out the canner, jars, and all your caning tools for a tomato canning party!

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