Monday, July 7, 2014



Off to the veggie market I went today to make quite a nice haul.   Canned tomatoes for everything good this winter and peppers to pickle for a special request from my hubby.

We live on a lake in Texas but also our property is basically a big rock and we are in a stage 4 drought situation this year.  So no garden for me as long as I am here. At $5 a box at the market I cannot grow these beauties.  Our market gets lots of Texas grown fruit, melon and vegetables.

I was asked on my personal FB page how to go about canning so today I want to walk through this lovely and rewarding process.
Things you will need to make this work.

Clean quart or pint canning jars with no nicks or cracks.
Rings in good shape and new lids
A large hot water bath canner.  Always use a canner with the insert so that your jars do not sit directly on the pot bottom!!  Mine holds 7 quart or 7 pint jars.  
Sharp paring knife.
A large pot to heat water
Non-reactive bowls to peel your tomatoes in (please no plastic!)

Prepare you canning pot by filling about 3/4 full of water and 1/4 cup white vinegar.  Place on a slow fire to heat the water.

Get your water boiling in that other big pot and keep hot but not boiling.  Fill either a large bowl or your clean sink with cold water.

Use only firm, ripe tomatoes.  Place as many tomatoes as you can in the simmering water and leave about a minute.  Take them out into a bowl and transfer them to their cold water bath to cool.

Here I want to insert a little trick I used this year.  No matter how juicy my tomatoes are there is never enough to go around as you fill your jars.  Also I have looked for many years at all that lycopine going to waste in those peels we toss out!  I mean that is some good stuff for our bodies!  So as I peeled my tomatoes I saved the peels and tossed the stem ends in the trash.  I put my peels in my Ninja (blender) and let them liquefy.  Poured them into a sieve and squished out all the good stuff, with very little waste!!  As I filled the jars I poured this juice in with the tomatoes.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle cut out the stems and pull the peels off. You can leave your tomatoes whole or cut in halves or quarters.

In your quart jars add 1 teaspoon salt or 1/2 teaspoon for pints.  Pack the tomatoes to about 1/2 inch of the top, pressing to fill in spaces.  (If you rescued your lycopine with the juice now is the time to add a bit with each jar to get to that 1/2 inch space)  Do not add water!  ( If you are on a sodium restricted diet leave out the salt!)  

With a clean damp cloth wipe the tops of each jar.   Place a lid and on each and tighten the rings on. Be sure they are not loose!
Put your jars in the canner with the lids just covered in water.  Bring your water quickly to a boil (212* F) with the lid on.  Now turn the fire down until your water is gently boiling.

Quart jars process 45 minutes.   Pint jars process 35 minutes.

Turn off the fire.

Lift your jars out with a jar lifter and place on a clean, DRY, towel.  If you set the hot jars on anything cool or wet they will break or explode.  I know this by terrible experience with an exploding jar of peaches!! Ouch is not the word!

If you have 7 jars listen for 7 pings/pops!  This means your tomatoes have sealed as they cool.  After about an hour push down on the tops, if there are any that bounce back this means they did not seal.  Put these in the refrigerator and use right away.

Now you have some delicious goodies for the winter.  Until next time my friends!


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