07 October, 2009

Tomatoes Before The Frost

It's beginning.
We just had a couple of nights where it dipped below 40'.
I made my husband happy by canning the last tomatoes.

Over the years, in my indescribably busy life, I have figured out how to can and not go crazy.
First of all, canning your own food can quickly become expensive. The jar lids are 2 or 3 bucks/dozen, then the electricity cost. Finally - what's your time worth?
My tricks are to grow the right product, know what you like and make it simple & quick.
These are just stewed tomatoes - same as the ones in a can (sans chemicals).
I can in pints - 2 cups is a nice recipe measurement.

First?-- get everything ready: Water in the canner simmering, jars sterilized in dishwasher then waiting in hot water on back of stove with lids, pan for boiling water bath - the bath helps slip those pesky skins off nice & easy.

Drop tomatoes into bath for 30 -45 seconds. Use paring knife to either take top core out or slice off top (romas), usually the skin slips right off here, but the knife is helpful for the stubborn ones.
I slice them into big chunks.

Into each jar; one Tablespoon of lemon juice to help the acidity level and then I carefully cram tomatoes into the jar. I wipe off the top of the jar, place a lid on, then the Screw top and place it in canner to stay hot until the canner is full.
The jars gently boil in my water canner for the specified Ball Blue Book time and voila, canned tomatoes to add to soup, lasagna, or marinara sauce.

Roma tomatoes remain my favorite because they speed up the prep time amazingly. Next fave is Early Girl, a nice meaty medium size tomato with a few seeds.

The point of this? People get way too finicky and fanatical about their canning - to the point - it's too much work to can every year.
My system means I have enough canned tomatoes for two years (hint!) and it's fast. Not to mention healthier.

Not to mention that smug feeling of satisfaction when I open the cupboard doors and see the array of food put away for a rainy day.

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