Canning Tomatoes

The last week of August my great friend Sarah came to visit me up in Vermont (I was spending a week there between two weekend weddings) and we had an adventure in canning tomatoes!

We’ve been talking about it for quite some time so it was exciting to actually make it happen. I went to the Farmer’s Market and talked to some Farmers trying to find organic tomatoes. I eventually bought 60 pounds… was a lot 🙂 We got up early one morning to buy the rest of our supplies (a new canning pot, some tongs, etc.) and were canning away by about 10:30.
We found this Bell Canning video particularly helpful but random Google searches were also conducted throughout the day since we were novices.
The first step was washing all the jars, lids, and tops in very hot soapy water. They would be additionally sanitized by taking a bath in boiling water so this was just a pre-caution.

Thank goodness for my Mom’s kitchen which has tons of counter space. Thank goodness also that we had two people – I can’t imagine doing all the steps with one. While Sarah chopped the tomatoes roughly I washed them first in the sink to rinse them and then blanched them so the skins slipped off easily. We were quite efficient with our jobs 🙂

(I took a first picture and then told Sarah she had to look happier….reminds me of Jeff’s happy faces when painting!!)

The Stove was going all day either blanching tomatoes, warming up water for a canning bath, or sterilizing jars and lids.

A teaspoon (or maybe a tablespoon…can’t remember) of lemon juice is added to each jar before it boils.

Oh yeah……some done and lots to go 🙂

We had picked up fresh dog treats that morning so Strider, Sage and Nellie enjoyed them fully. They hung out on the back porch most of the day – occasionally wandering over to the apple tree to see if any had fallen 🙂

The rough steps are:

– Wash tomatoes
– Plunge them into boiling water to loosen skins
– Peel off skins and chop them up
– Sterilize jars
– Fill jars with a teaspoon (I think) of canning salt, 1 Tablespoon (I think) of lemon juice and the tomatoes – leaving about 1 inch headroom
– Run a knife around the outside of the jar to remove air bubbles
– Place jars in boiling water and cook (they call it process) for 45 minutes
– Remove jars and place on a dish towel for 12-24 hours so they cool down slowly
NOW….when we took our first batch out of the water it looked like this – yikes! But trusty Google told us that this is normal depending on the amount of water in your tomatoes (ours were very liquid-y) so we didn’t worry – phew!

The process continued……for a long time 🙂

Lowering the jars in for processing

Our haul at the end – 47 quarts of diced tomatoes and 5 quarts of tomato puree

Ahhh….feels good 🙂

Sarah took this picture of me near the end of the day….she calls it death by canning 🙂

After seven hours in the kitchen all the tomatoes had been processed and we headed out for a celebratory dinner at Bearded Frog. We then topped it off with dessert at The Inn – a great end to a fun day!
Did I mention that we had SO much fun canning tomatoes that we tried our hand at peaches the next day? Stay tuned 🙂