I love planting a garden every year. This year I planted 8 Roma tomato plants, 10 pepper plants (bell, hot and jalepeno), onions and cabbage. It’s been a dry summer, so I didn’t have high hopes for tons of produce from the garden. At the most, I hoped for at least some fresh salsa.
My tomatoes have surpassed my expectations! I’m getting the highest yield that I’ve EVER gotten from my garden. I’ve been picking here and there, getting this typical bunch of tomatoes:
and then dicing and freezing them. I knew after I got enough, I’d be able to can the tomatoes.
After picking on Tuesday, I knew that I’d have to can. Canning tomatoes is so easy, I thought I’d share the process with you!
After defrosting the frozen tomatoes and dicing the ones that were just picked, I loaded them all into my big pot. I put the heat on, because you need to bring them up to a boil.
Then I got a pot of water and some jars heating, and my lids in hot water too.
Make sure your tomatoes come to a full, rolling boil that doesn’t stop when you stir them. While you’re waiting, get your filling station ready. Mine includes a towel, a bowl, a ladle, jar tongs, screw lids, a funnel, and a clean, dry washcloth.
Once your tomatoes are at a full rolling boil, you’re ready to start filling jars. Take a hot jar and place it in the bowl. Add your funnel, and ladle in tomatoes, remembering to leave a 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar.
Once your jar is filled, clean off the rim with your clean, dry washcloth.
Add your hot lid, and screw the other lid on nice and tight.
The best thing about this way of canning tomatoes is that you don’t have to process them! The tomatoes, jars and lids are hot enough that they’ll seal without processing. So once you have the lid screwed on, put them on a counter or table where there aren’t any drafts or cool blowing air. My dining room table was perfect for this.
Keep repeating the process, making sure your jars and lids are nice and hot. **Remember, though, to leave the jars ALONE for at least 12 hours. If you touch them and move them around, they won’t seal. If they don’t seal, don’t panic–you can heat up the jars/tomatoes and try again.** I canned 12 quarts of tomatoes with this batch!
We’ll use these tomatoes all winter long, in chili, spaghetti sauce and vegetable soup. And the way my tomatoes are producing, I’m sure I’ll be canning some more. Canning is a tradition for me, something I learned from both my grandma and my mom. It’s so satisfying, knowing that I grew and canned these tomatoes by myself. And the best part- after the investment of jars, it’s CHEAP!
I’d love to hear from you–do you can fruits and vegetables in the summertime?