|Thank heavens for my hoop greenhouse to save my tomatoes!|
I finally got some tomatoes last night. I picked about 20 lbs. Better late than never. Hard to believe it's the first of October already. Normally my tomatoes have all been canned and the season over. So today I canned my first tomatoes of the season.
First I wash the tomatoes and then scald them in boiling water and then plunge them into ice cold well water to help the skins loosen so that they are easy to peel. I like to hot pack my jars because I like more tomato in the jar than juice so I cut the tomatoes up into a large stock pot to heat to boiling. Once they are just about to boil, I add canning salt, a small amount of sugar, coarse ground black pepper and granulated garlic. Once they come to a full boil, I remove them from the stove and start filling my jars.
I pressure can my jars as I feel it is safer when dealing with a potentially low acid vegetable or fruit. (tomatoes are actually a fruit, not a veggie) Pressure canning is a lot easier than people think as long as you use proper safety precautions. The important part is to pay attention. I never leave my pressure canner unsupervised. Follow the directions that come with the canner. If you buy one used, you can find many of the original books available on line. You must let the canner cool on it's own - never run it under cold water to cool down the pressure. Once the pressure is down, the lock lever that drops into the handle will be in the up position and the weight will not hiss when you move it. I leave at least 20 min. for cool down for pints and 40 min. for quarts. If you open it too soon, some of the liquid may be forced out of your jars which may keep them from sealing.
Once the jars are cold, I remove the rings and check the lid to make sure it is sealed. I store my jars without the rings. I'm ready for a pot of tomato rice or spaghetti....yum!