Canning brings back so many memories of the end of summer. I spent many August days canning with my mom and sisters growing up. I can’t forget my Dad, he always was pickin’ in the garden or helpin’ in the kitchen. Although I canned the first part of my life I have forgotten most details and had to teach myself. With the help of the internet and many calls to my mom and sisters I have been able to relearn this art or bring back the memory of canning.
Tomatoes is a must for canning, we use them for making salsa in the dead of winter. It brings summer back to us.
1. Collect all your items you need.
- Bottles, lids, rings, water bath canner, bottle gripper, canning funnel, knife, cutting board, large pot for boiling water, slotted spoon, butter knife or small spatula, small pan to boil water for the lids and ice for an ice bath (I always forget this one. I only have ice cube trays and it is never enough for the ice bath. Our next fridge will have an ice maker.)
- Tomatoes, lemon juice, tomato juice, salt, and sugar
Choosing bottles. I got most of my bottles from others but if you happen to have the option to get a wide mouth bottle or a near neck bottle choose the wide mouth. They are much easier to fill. Easier = Faster and when you are canning you want it to go faster.
Who said canning isn’t an art.
2. Wash bottles and rings.
- Dishwasher works fab. Mine was doing a load so I washed them the old fashioned way, by hand. Yes, mom by hand!
- While you are washing set your large pan of water on the stove and bring to a gentle boil.
- Place a small pan of water on the stove with the lids in the water. Bring to a warm simmer. It doesn’t need to boil just keep hot.
3. Hot water bath to Ice, Ice, baby!
- Once your water is at a slow boil place you tomatoes in the water for 15 seconds. The skin will burst for an easy peeling.
- Place in ice water bath.
- Skin should peel like a bad sunburn, in big stripes.
- Cut into wedges and don’t forget to cut out the core.
*This is a good time to put your water bath canner on the stove to start to boil. It takes a lot of time to bring to boil and you won’t want to wait for it to boil.
4. Stuff those tomatoes.
- Fill clean jars with tomato wedges. For good presentation place the wedges so that the outside of the tomato shows. (If it don’t look good you ain’t going to eat it.)
- Add Lemon Juice, 1 tablespoon; Sugar, 1 teaspoon; and Salt, 1/2 teaspoon. (for pints)
- Pour tomato juice in jars 1/2 inch to the top.
The jars will have air pockets so gently place a butter knife down the inside of the jar to release the air. If the liquid goes below 1/2 of the top fill with more tomato juice.
*If you have left over tomato juice place in a Ziploc freezer bag and lay flat in freezer to use at a later time.
5. Give them a bath.
- Wipe rims of bottles with a clean hot cloth.
- Place hot lids onto the bottles and put a ring on it (I’m a single ladie, I am single ladies. Ooh, ooh, ooh, shoud’a put a ring on it)
- Seven bottles can be processed at one time. Place bottles in the rack and submerge so that the water is just over the top of the lids.
- Process time depends on your altitude. I process for 40 minutes in a slow rolling boil water bath.
Process Time at Altitudes for pints
0-1,000 / 35 minutes
1,001-3,000 / 40 minutes
3,001-6,000 / 45 minutes
Above 6,000 / 50 minutes
With your bottle gripper take the bottles out of the canner and place on a folded towel. Now this is one of my favorite memories of canning, hearing the pop of the lids when they seal. It is so satisfying to hear the fruits of your labor go pop as you rest on the couch after a long day of canning. It makes me giddy even thinking about it.
Just so you know my kitchen was a mess and my kids had free reign of the house when I was canning. (the kids were suppose to be doing home work but they knew I wouldn’t get on them) It never is a good time to can and you just have to do it when the garden is a callin’.
If you have any questions about canning contact your local Extension Office, they are the experts.