September 12, 2011

Yes, You Can: Canning Tomatoes in Ten Steps

With fall quickly approaching, it is the perfect time to capture some of summer's best flavors. Canning is somewhat labor intensive, but enjoyable and well worth the effort. I am sure we will be thanking ourselves when we have a taste of summer come January!

My mother (Sandy), sister (Brittany) and I worked together in the kitchen for about 5 hours to can about 120 large tomatoes. We had a lot of fun with many laughs and decided that we are going to start working on a family cookbook.

Our canning process would have made a great segment on a cooking show, except for the fact that all three of us have uncontrollable swearing reflexes. We are working on it now that Addie is around, but old habits die hard.

Below, we compiled a list of the 10 steps that worked for us...

Before beginning, wash hands thoroughly with hot water and soap. Much of the canning process is centered around avoiding contamination.

Step 1: Wash tomatoes (we had lots!).

Step 2: Sterilize jars, lid rings and tops in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

Step 3: Score tomatoes by making an x shape in them with a knife.

Step 4: Put tomatoes in boiling water. Leave them in for about a minute, or until the skin starts to wrinkle.

Step 5: Dunk tomatoes in an ice water bath. This will make it easy to remove the skins. Remove the skins in the ice bath (they should slide right off).

Step 6: Chop tomatoes. Be sure to discard the core and any rotten or overly pithy parts. We chopped and added basil to one batch and garlic and onions to the other. (Note: tomatoes can be left whole, if preferred).

Step 7: Funnel tomatoes into cans. Be sure to push down any air bubbles and wipe the top of your jar with hot water before adding lids. Close lid snug but not overly tight.

Step 8: Boil the jars. Be sure that the tops are covered in at least 1 inch of water. Remove your jars after about 40 minutes and allow them to cool.

Step 9: Label jars with the date that your tomatoes were canned. They are safe to consume for a minimum of one year.

Step 10: Enjoy! (safety note: within a few hours of canning you should hear a popping or suction noise from the lids of your jars sealing. If your jar top does not look indented, then it was not sealed correctly).

Happy Canning!

To end, here's a photo of Sweet Addie Girl untying my apron :)


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