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Tips for Canning Tomatoes

Amanda and I canned two varieties of tomatoes from our small garden for the first time. Someone stole them all last year and we didn’t get many the year before):

We also canned some beautiful heirlooms from our Peace and Carrots Farm CSA.

This was our first time canning tomatoes and here is what we learned:

  1. Tomatoes can be canned via the water bath method as long as you acidify them. We used 1/4 tsp of citric acid per pint.
  2. We use whole canned tomatoes much more than we use paste or crushed tomatoes, so we canned all of ours whole.
  3. We opted to put them in pints because most of the dishes I use canned tomatoes for take either 1 or 2 pints.
  4. All of the San Marzano tomatoes in our cabinet had salt and a basil leaf added, so we mimicked that and added those things to ours, too. We have basil growing right here in our apartment, so it worked well.
  5. The best way to peel tomatoes is to cut a small X in the bottom with a knife (doesn’t need to be deep, just break the skin), drop them in a pot of boiling water for 45 seconds or until the skin starts to peel away on its own, then fish them out and put them in an ice bath until they are cool enough to handle. The skin should peel right off easily.
  6. The funnel included with the AeroPress doubles as an excellent canning funnel.
  7. You can tightly pack tomatoes down into a jar and they will create their own liquid as you squeeze them in. You shouldn’t need to add any.
  8. Jar lifters are a must. You WILL burn yourself if you try to MacGyver a solution like I did. They are only $5 and very useful. Get one.

We got 8 pints this year! We know it isn’t a lot, but we are pleased to have gotten so many out of our small garden. We’ll savor each and every one of them this winter.

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