Thursday, August 29, 2013

You Say Tomato, I Say Tamahto

Actually, to me it doesn’t matter how you say it as long as you don’t waste them. In fact, it may be illegal to waste yummy, red garden tomatoes. Okay, maybe it isn’t, but it should be!
Write your senator.
Anyhoo, this morning I spent two and a half hours making sure I didn’t waste one drop of my tomatoes (and my Mother’s) by canning tomato juice. Whenever I say this to my friends, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind and always say, I could never do that. If you are one of these people that believes they wouldn’t have a clue as to what to do with canning tomato juice then this post is for you. Trust me, it’s so easy you’ll wonder why you never have before.
I had about 10 pounds of tomatoes which made a little over a gallon of juice. The first step is to score your tomatoes like this..
Then in a big pot, bring enough water to boil to cover about 4 or 5 tomatoes. Also, right next to it, take another pot with about the same amount of water and add ice to it so you have a ice water bath. Proceed to drop your tomatoes into the boiling water and wait about 30 seconds. No more than that, please! Take them immediately out of the boiling water and submerge them in the ice water.
Give them a few seconds and then pull them out and all that skin will just come off in your hand like this..
Pretty simple, huh? Do this process to all the tomatoes and then core them and you should have a bowl of gloriously de-skinned tomatoes like this in about 30 minutes with little effort..
Beautiful. Now, you could throw these in freezer bags and freeze them for recipes later, like chili or veggie soup…
OR you can go the extra mile like I did and juice them.
Lucky for me my Hubby bought me the juicing and grinding attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and so I hooked it up..
If you don’t have one of these awesome, life saving contraptions, you can use an old fashioned tomato strainer like this one…
It works just fine, so have no worries. Either way you should end up with about a gallon of juice.
Isn’t that the biggest Bloody Mary you’ve ever seen?! Just kidding.
Okay, quickly…how many quarts in a gallon??
No fair Googling it.
The answer is 4, so I tossed 4 of my quart canning jars into my dishwasher and washed on high heat to prepare them for the canning process. In the meantime I had this going…
From L to R : The lids to the jars are simmering away in the small pan, the juice is being brought up to exactly 190 degrees but not a boil, and in the back my canning pot is filled with water and starting to boil.
Once my jars have been sterilized, I set them next to the juice and started to fill them..
Once they were filled, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace at the top, I added 1 teaspoon of salt and then placed a hot lid on top, screwed down the ring (but not tightly) and placed them into the canner to process for 40 minutes.
9 copy
Once the 40 minutes is up, carefully remove the cans from the hot canner and set to the side to finish sealing. You should enjoy the sounds of popping lids for the rest of the day! ..
and you should enjoy your garden tomatoes for the rest of the winter! As for any left over juice that didn’t make it into the jars…   well, drink it, or make that bloody mary, you’ve earned it.
One other tip.. if you have any questions or really like this canning business, go get this book..
I call this my “Canning Bible”. I have canned and preserved my WHOLE life and every once in a while I still have a question or two or five. This has everything you could ever want to know about making jams, jellies, canning tomatoes, green beans, etc. If you can preserve it, it is in this book. It is usually sold anywhere canning supplies are sold and it will be something you keep forever.
Happy Thursday.

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