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Canning Tomatoes

I love fresh ripe from the vine tomatoes. I love growing them, I love canning them to use all the rest of the year. Here in the desert we plant our tomatoes in February. If we plant too much later than that they won’t produce much. We have to get the plants to do all they can before our night time temperatures exceed 70 degrees, after that the tomatoes won’t set, so we plant early. We rarely freeze here more than a few days a year, once in a while that February planting time will bite us with a freeze but not usually.

This year we planted 30 tomato plants in hopes of making up for the garden we didn’t plant last year. I was down to 1 jar of tomatoes and that just can’t happen!

I can very simply. Here it is: Wash your tomatoes well. Submerge them in gently boiling water for about 2 minutes until the skin starts to crack. Immediately submerge in ice water. Peel tomatoes and take the core out, then stuff tomatoes into clean canning jars. You can pack them in pretty tightly, just leave about 1/4 to 1/2 inch at the top of the jar. Hear your new lids in hot water and put on the jars tightening the ring finger tight. Then process about 30 minutes. Be sure you don’t add any liquid to the jars, the tomatoes produce all they need as they process. Also you can add salt to the jars if you like but I prefer not to. The tomatoes have enough acid in them to preserve them well and I don’t like the extra salt when I open a jar for a recipe.

I use my steamer canner for this, check out my previous blog about it for instructions.IMG_20130601_133718 Then with just a little effort you have beautiful jars of tomatoes to use all the rest of the year when you can’t grow a vine to save your life.IMG_20130601_132735IMG_20130601_141541 You can open a jar for a recipe any time of the year and enjoy the taste of really ripe good tomatoes. I make spaghetti sauce, mexican rice, soups, oh man there is a really good tomato soup recipe in the recipe box! I also will open several jars and add peppers and onions and cilantro and make a really great tasting fresh salsa that we all fight over. The possibilities are endless!

In years past I have canned salsa and spaghetti sauce and even chili sauce but this year I think I’m just going to do tomatoes and make all the other things fresh. We’ll see how it goes.