Friday, April 4, 2014

Canning Your Fruits and Tomatoes/Vegetables

Canning Your Fruits and Tomatoes/Vegetables:

The preparation for canning your fruits and tomatoes is much like the preparation for freezing them. Canning other types of vegetables have to be canned in a Canning Pressure Cooker. Follow the instructions in how to prepare your tomatoes is last week's blog posting on Freezing. Once you have selected good ripe (not to soft) tomatoes, washed them thoroughly, blanched them to remove the peeling, and peeled and diced them, follow the instructions below for canning tomatoes. Warning: You cannot can other types of vegetables by the Water-Bath process, they are not acidic enough

1. Place your diced (or whole, halved or quartered) tomatoes in a large pot. Boil them for five minutes, be careful to not burn the bottom of the pot or the tomatoes. If you use whole tomatoes you will need to add water to cover them and place the water in the canning jars since they will not produce their own liquid.

2. While the tomatoes are boiling, place your canning jars in hot boiling water. Place the caps in hot, but not boiling water (this will damage the seal) and let them sit in the hot water until you are ready for them. Do not use used caps, they may to hold the seal.

3. Removed the canning jars from the boiling water with the jar lifter and set them on a towel out of a draft.
4. If using pint jars place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in the bottom of the jar. If using quart jars, place 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice in the bottom of the jars. If you are concerned about the bitter taste of the lemon juice, you can add a little sugar to the tomatoes to sweeten them.
5. With the funnel on the jar, pour enough hot tomatoes into the jars just below the bottom of rim.

6. Run a plastic spatula around the inside of the jars to release any air bubbles. Add more tomatoes if needed.

7. Wipe off the edge of the jars with a clean soft towel before sealing them.

8. Seal the jars with the hot caps and lids. Never use used caps and or bent lids. Buy new ones each time you can. Screw them on tight, put not too tight.

9. Have the water in your Water-Bath Canning pot already hot. Place the canning rack in the bottom of the Water-Bath Canning pot, using the canning jar lifter, place the canning jars of tomatoes on the rack so they do not touch each other. Do not stack on top of each other.
10. Cover the jars with more hot water, from another pot of boiling water, until they are covered about 3-4 inches above the top of the canning jars.
11. Cover the pot with the lid, bring to a hard boil and boil for 45 minutes, making sure the water stays above the lids.
12. Remove the canning jars from the pot with your jar lifter and place on a towel out of a draft. This prevents the jars from cracking if put on a cold surface.

13. After awhile you will start to hear the lids "ping". This means your jars are sealed. Leave the jars there until they have completely cooled.
14. Once they are cooled check the lids to make sure they are not springy by pushing in the middle of the caps. If they are, you can do the process again, or put them in the refrigerator and use them within a week.
15. Place labels on the jars with the name of the item inside and the date. Place in a cool, dry dark place. They should keep for 1-3 years.

16. When you open the jars make sure you smell the fruit and tomatoes to make sure they do not smell spoiled. If they do, throw them away immediately.
Note: This same process works for fruits. Check online, or in a canning cookbook, how long to boil them for the type of fruit you are using. This is also a great way to can fruit jams and jellies. Check online for great fruit jams and jellies recipes.

I did not find Water-Bath Canning difficult, just time consuming! But what a great reward you receive once you are done canning. This is just another way to preserve food for your Food Storage. Remember, when canning fruits and tomatoes/vegetables, purchase them when in season to save money. If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, this is a great way to preserve them for future use. Citric fruit like lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, I squeeze out the juice and freeze the juice in freezer double zip lock bags.


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