Canning Experiment #1 Tomatoes - The Pressure Cooker Experiment #1 (Red Beans and Rice) Blog at - 195407

The Pressure Cooker Experiment #1 (Red Beans and Rice)

Canning Experiment #1 Tomatoes 
Sep. 15, 2010 10:58 am 
Updated: Sep. 16, 2010 7:17 am
Hi everyone! I have been keeping myself busy lately with the bounty of my garden. My tomatoes actually decided to turn red this year so I figured it was about time I teach myself to can. Yay! The purpose of this blog is to keep a record for my own safe keeping, get ideas and tips for future experiments, and share with others what I have learned.

Getting started:
1.) Make sure you have the necessary equipment
Mom dropped off her canning pot with the rack, plenty of jars and lids for me to go nuts with, and tomatoes from her own garden. Note that you can reuse jars and lid rims but not lid seals. I also needed a few large bowls, a large stock pot with a lid, a large collander, a paring knife, a slotted spoon, lemon juice, salt, a clean cloth, and a pair of canning tongs(I had to use a pair of BBQ tongs)

( Disclaimer: I have a ceramic smooth top electric stove. You are not supposed to use ridged bottomed canning pots on them because they can crack your stove top. I did but was very careful not to move the pot once I placed it on the stove top.)

2.) Research and choose the method that you would like to try
I looked around online, got tips from the knowledgable members from the Recipe Exchange on this site, and talked to both my mom and MIL over the phone. This is the most confusing part because everyone has their own way and insists everyone else's way is wrong.

I decided to use this site as my base< . It seemed pretty straight forward and she used lemon juice and salt instead of citric acid (which I didn't have and didn't feel like buying)
I wrote everything down before I got started so I wouldn't lose my place and freak out

Sterilize your jars:

I prepared my jars in the dishwasher using the sterilize option (I love my new dishwasher, BTW)
I put all the jars in the bottom rack and all the rims on the top rack. You are not supposed to sterilize your lid seals.
My MIL told me to pour boiling hot water in a bowl and soak the lid seals so they adhere better. I just used really hot tap water for this.

Peel and chop your tomatoes:

I always peel my tomatoes the same way.
Bring a large pot filled halfway with water to a boil. It takes less time if you use a lid so you may want to choose one that has a properly fitting lid.
Fill a large bowl with ice water ( shock water)
I placed as many tomatoes in a bowl as I could fit and got out my huge collander. As I washed each tomato I cored and sliced an x in the bottom with a paring knife and placed it in the collander. This is where a partner would really come in handy for an assembly line of sorts.
Place them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds or until you see the skin blistering and beginning to peel off a bit.
Using a slotted spoon, remove each tomato and plunge into the ice water. (You could also drain the entire pot into your collander and then shock them but I had another batch of tomatoes to boil and didn't want to have to start the water boiling process all over again).
Leave them in there around 10 minutes.
Peel and cut into chuinks
When you are finished with all your tomatoes dump out your boiling pot and throw your chopped tomatoes back in the same pot. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.

Fill your jars:

I had quart size jars. I would recommend using pint size jars if you have the option. Then you won't have a half used jar of open tomatoes in your fridge to worry about and you get more out of them for gifts.
Fill each jar leaving exactly 1/2 inch room headspace (this starts from the very top of the jar).
Top with lemon juice and salt. Qt size: 2 TB lem juice&1 tsp salt  Pt Size:1 Tb lemon juice& 1/2 tsp salt
Cover with seals and wipe with a clean cloth. Then screw on the rims and wipe again.

Process your jars:

Fill your canning bath about 1/3 with water. Make sure your wire rack is raised by placing the handles over the edge of your canning bath.
Bring the water to a boil .
Gently place each jar onto wire rack.
Cover and reduce heat to med low ( Unfortunately, I have an electric stove so gas would probably be lower heat). Let cook 50 minutes.
Gently remove each jar with tongs and allow to cool. You know it worked if the seals are pulled down :)

I got 3 quart size jars out of all this work so I recommend you have plenty of tomatoes to begin with and use pint size jars so it looks and feels like you get more out of it.

Mom dropped off another boat load of tomatoes last week. Instead of going through that all over again I decided to peel them and use them in other ways. I made a double batch of slow cooker spaghetti sauce, which I portioned off and froze flat into freezer bags and labled. I saved a few of the peeled tomatoes and made tomato basil gorgonzola soup using this as a base< . It was delicious with grilled ham sandwiches. I had some green tomatoes and jalapenos to use up too so I made some green salsa< . It was very good served with tamale casserole.

Hopefully I have explained myself well enough. Please let me know if there are any crucial details I may have left out. I would love to hear any canning stories you have to share!
"x" for easier peeling
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This was half the amount I canned
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Water bath with stewing pot in the background
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My first canned anything!!!
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Sep. 15, 2010 1:11 pm
How funny!!! I was thinking about you today and wondering how it went after your MIL dropped off stuff to can with. I'm canning homemade enchilada sauce today and some crushed tomatoes. Canning is a great way to preserve what you, well in my case, worked so hard to get out of the garden. I will tell you this, once you get over the fear of the pressure cooker it does cut canning times, for some stuff, down and mercy it cuts the steam and heat down! Happy Cannning!!!!! Cat
Sep. 15, 2010 1:24 pm
Hi Cat! I had to get rid of my old PC because it took about 1 hour to release the steam every time I made something. It just wasn't worth it anymore. I am looking into actually buying a new one or putting one on my wish list for Xmas. Need to find just the right one. I want one I will be able to use for canning. I will post pics on the blog as soon as AR lets me :)
Sep. 15, 2010 1:38 pm
Wow an hour?! That's not cutting time! I have 3 PC's. One is ancient from DH's great Aunts. Terrified me everytime I used it. The other two are new. Both I can, can with but one is the HUGE one. Both have flat bottoms, cause I too have that ceramic cooktop. Funny (not ha ha) that you are having trouble with pics. I posted a new blog Wes. and all but one of the pictures showed up. It was a grape leaf wrapped smoked salmon with EVOO and salt rubbed grilled potatoes so it couldn't have been content! Darn and I was proud of that picture, food was better though! :)
Sep. 15, 2010 1:49 pm
I basically do the same thing as you do, except that we have an outside burner, fired by propane and since I have an glasstop stove, and it does not recommend that you do canning on the top or your glass can break (expensive to replace). I did the jars outside, but took the canner just inside the back door before lifting them out of the water (jars may break if you do this step outside). This works very well as I have been so afraid to try canning outside. I also used my pressure canner and as long as you let the pressure go down properly, you can lift the jars outside (they are not so hot as the hot water bath). I found that I got 7 quart jars from approx 35 - 40 med tomatoes. Keep canning, so much better for you!!
Sep. 15, 2010 1:55 pm
Cat, Do you have a brand and size you recommend? I am hoping to just buy 1 PC that I will be able to can with and cook in.
Sep. 15, 2010 2:06 pm
Shirley, Deep down I think I was kind of hoping to ruin my cook top. I really want a gas stove. Of course I am very happy I didn't ruin it. I will not take the chance again, though. That is why I want to buy a Pressure Cooker for next time. Smart thinking on using the propane!
Sep. 15, 2010 2:26 pm
I have replaced my cooktop but not cause I canned on it. Something dropped on it. Boy, I hate to say one size fits all! It doesn't. BRB Went to get the boxes to tell you what I have-10qt splendid, trial run with pc's-too big to cook just dinner and not big enough to can tons & 16qt presto- great for cannning more than 4 jars which is what I usually do. I want a much smaller one for the roasts and dinner things-like Mom used to have.
Sep. 15, 2010 7:04 pm
Thanks for blogging about canning.. I have been wanting to try this for year..But I have no garden & my house temp changes too easy...
Sep. 16, 2010 7:17 am
CAT, I guess you are recommending I have 2 PCs. One for canning and one for cooking. What if I only plan on canning 4 jars at a time? Unfortunately, I don't have the garden you have :) JAYASHIANGEL, hopfully what I wrote actually makes sense. LOL! Have you ever tried container gardening? It is supposed to work really well with tomatoes. You could try it on a balcony or porch if you have one.
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