When you are selecting tomatoes for home-canning, be sure to keep quality and cleaniness uppermost in your mind. After choosing ripe fruit that is still slightly firm, that is before the dead-ripe stage, discard any tomatoes with rotten spots, lesions, or other splits. Wash the fruit very carefully in fresh water, using several rinses if the tomatoes have gathered soil from the field. Remove the cores of the tomatoes, cut away any green parts, and remove all bruised flesh. Prepare your tomatoes according to the specific recipe, always working on a clean surface and with clean utensils, and then process them as described here. For more detailed information on canning, consult one of the publications listed in the Bibliography of my book, The Good Cook's Guide to Tomatoes.
Place properly sealed jars in a canning kettle half full of water, and add additional water if necessary to cover the jars 2" above their tops. Turn the heat to high. When the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium and set the timer for 45 minutes (35 minutes for pints) for whole tomatoes and tomato sauce, 20 minutes for tomato juice. Remove the jars from the canner and set on racks to cool. Check the lids to be sure that they have sealed properly. There will be a slight indentation in the center of lids that have properly sealed. If one is raised, press down; if it stays down, the seal has worked. If it doesn't, reprocess the tomatoes or refrigerate them and use within a few days. Another way to be sure that the seals have worked properly is to tap on them. If the sound they make is sharp and clear, the seal is complete. If the sound is more of a dull thud, the jar is not properly closed and the product will spoil.
Once the jars have fully cooled, store them in a cool, dark cupboard until ready to use.
Makes about 6 quarts or 12 pints
Use the best tasting tomatoes available to you, after you have eaten your fill raw, of course. The purpose of canning tomatoes is to preserve the harvest at its peak of flavor to use during the barren months, so there is no need to can early in the season. I believe it is best to can tomatoes in as simple a form as possible, without a lot of other ingredients. That leaves you free to decide how to season each jar of preserved tomatoes as you use it. I do like tucking a basil leaf or two into jars of whole tomatoes, since basil, too, is—or should be—hard to come by in the winter months.
Have a large canning kettle ready, half full of water and on medium high heat. Peel the tomatoes and remove the cores. Scald 6 quart jars (or 12 pint jars) with boiling water. Pack the tomatoes, either whole or cut in wedges, into the jars, pressing to fill any spaces. Add about 1/2 cup tomato juice if necessary (some varieties of tomatoes will have enough of their own juices) to completely fill in any spaces in the jar and to cover the tomatoes to 1/2 inch below the top. Add 2 basil leaves (one to pints) and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice to each quart jar, half that amount to pints. Place self-sealing lids and rings on the jars and process.
Makes 6 quarts
Have a large canning kettle ready, half full of water and on medium high heat. Peel the tomatoes and remove the cores. Scald 6 quart jars (or 12 pint jars) with boiling water. Cut the tomatoes in wedges, placing them in a large stockpot and bring them to a boil, stirring regularly so that they do not burn. When they have boiled, pack the hot tomatoes in the scalded jars, add the basil leaves, and top up the jars with the tomato juice, if necessary. Add 2 basil leaves (one to pints) and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice to each quart jar, half that amount to pints. Place self-sealing lids and rings on the jars and process.
Copyright 1996 by Michele Anna Jordan, author of The Good Cook's Book of Tomatoes. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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