Like the peaches, it’s still just before the first of the local tomatoes, but they’re starting to drop in price with an alarming rate at the grocery stores.
I’m not sure that unless you’re canning homegrown that you’re saving much money over store bought canned. I think that savings for us is that I can control the amount of product that I’m using at one time. I can rarely get through the giant can of crushed tomatoes before they go bad. And giant seems to be the only size that Price Rite and Aldi’s sell their canned tomatoes in.
Please make sure that you understand how to can tomatoes before you proceed with them. They actually aren’t that high in acidity and you need to compensate for that when you can them.
-I comfortably got 1 lb of tomatoes cut into sixths per pint jar. Three pounds of vine ripened tomatoes gave me exactly 3 pint jars.
-Make sure to remember to cut an x into the bottom of your tomatoes when you blanch them for peeling. It’s significantly easier to skin them with that x than without.
-You need to add an acid like lemon juice into each jar before you can tomatoes to make up for the low amounts in the fruit. Into each jar, place lemon juice- 1 table to a pint, 1/2 table to a half pint, 1 1/2 tea per quarter pint.
-I really liked the cookie sheet trick when I was cutting these tomatoes. Placing your cutting board into a cookie sheet with a lip will keep it from shifting and the juice won’t get everywhere, making clean up that much easier.
-Use as large a chop as you can-or even can them whole if using smaller tomatoes. While it may add an extra step before you use them, it makes the finished tomatoes that much more useful because you can crush them, dice them, puree them…you haven’t locked yourself into what you can do with them.
-When using non-conventional tomatoes, make sure to try to find out the average acidity level of the breed and/or color. I’ve read that green tomatoes are higher in acidity and yellow lower than ‘normal’ red tomatoes. Either way, add your lemon juice to be on the safe side. This may be a bigger issue if you’re making a jam with your tomatoes, where you may want to add slightly more acid than normal.
-Romas (or paste) tomatoes are said to be the best for canning.
-Dry spices alter acidity in a very, very minor way. If you want to flavor your tomatoes, you could add chili powder, crushed red pepper, or Italian seasoning.
-You can add garlic and chopped hot peppers to make a rotele style product.
-Other than the need for extra acid, canning tomatoes is like canning any other fruit. You can can in water or in tomato juice.
Please, stop by and link up at this week’s Inspired Weekends!