It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Canning season is my favorite chore. Yes, it’s hot and yes, it’s time consuming, but each morning when I bring down another case of filled jars, I can admire my work. Throughout the winter season, I can also go to the pantry and see all our family’s favorites waiting for me to open them. All the work is worth it when we get snowed in on grocery day and we just don’t care.
Are you canning anything this year? Right now, the farmer’s market is overloaded with produce as the vendors are bringing in the last of their summer foods and turning their thoughts to the fall gardens. When you are there, ask if the farmer has any canning tomatoes, sometimes called “seconds” that they would be willing to sell you. If so, make arrangements(usually before or after market time) to pick them up and can away!
If something is tedious, like carrots or peas, I usually don’t can. I do love to tomatoes though. They are my favorite vegetables to can just plain or maybe with a touch of basil. We use jar after jar of plain tomatoes all winter long, and no matter how carefully I plan, we always run out.
After making some jams-not a trillion jars, but roughly enough for 1 a week, I only seem to have the desire to can things that make sense; sauces and soup bases and of course relishes and spicy mixes. The basics seem to make the rest of my meal planning much easier. If you are just starting out canning, try this simple recipe for plain tomatoes. They are easy and you can use them for so many tasty dishes.
Simple Canned Tomatoes
From Canning and Preserving For Dummies
12 Pounds whole tomatoes
Bottled lemon juice
- Prepare your jars and two piece lids according to the manufacturer’s instruction. Keep the jars and lids hot.
- Wash and peel the tomatoes. Make this easier by dipping them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then into cold water. The peels will curl up and can easily be removed. After peeling, cut tomatoes into halves or quarters to fit them better into the jars.
- Place tomatoes into prepared canning jars, pressing them to relase their juice. To each pint jar, add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 tsp citric acid and if desired, 1/2 tsp salt. To each quart, add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid and if desired, 1 teaspoon salt. If there is not enough juice to cover the tomatoes, add boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Releaase any trapped air bubbles with a wooden skewer or other plastic or wooden handle.
- Process the filled jars in a water-bath canner for 35 minutes(pints) or 45 minutes (quarts) from the point of boiling.
- Remove the jars with a jar lifter and place on a clean kitchen towel. After cooled, test seals and remove rings before labeling and storing.
If you have any questions about this or any other canning and preserving technique, please send me a message on Facebook. I would love to help!