Archive for August, 2012

How To Can Tomatoes (My Way)

pint jars of canned tomatoes

The clear liquid at the bottom of the jars is juice that separates because the tomatoes are basically raw when canned. Shaking the jars mixes it in (see jar on the upper left).

When it comes to canning tomatoes, I’m a total piker compared to some people I know, never mind our pioneer ancestors.  But I do manage to put away 15 to 20 pint jars by the time the season ends.

The tomatoes within are in two forms: whole with chunks in juice (basically raw when they go in the jar) and Intensely Delicious Roast Tomatoes. Having recently reminded you yet again about the roasted ones, I feel that version has been amply covered.

But I’ve never described my method for plain old canned tomatoes – probably because I wouldn’t make them if I didn’t have to. Between the roasted and the frozen, we have a better preserved tomato ready for any cooked tomato need … except one: stewed tomatoes, winter comfort lunch supreme, which must be made with home canned tomatoes.

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Preserving the Tomato Harvest

harvested tomatoes, sorted by variety

Bill is looking at the Olympics. I’m looking at the tomatoes, deciding which ones to freeze next.

It may seem a bit early to go all harvesty on you, but the first big flush of Hudson Valley tomatoes is usually the best for both quantity and quality, so that’s the one it makes sense to put up.  The season of need will be upon us sooner or later (probably later, the way the weather’s been going lately), no matter how hard that is to imagine when it’s 72 degrees at dawn.

Equally unimaginable: canning – or at least extensive canning. I make an exception for Intensely Delicious Roast Tomatoes, but the bulk of our haul is a big reason I love the freezer.

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