Canning last year's tomatoes

My Canning Cellar

Jul 7 2022 • 6 mins

Canning last year's tomatoes! Here's how!

I forgot to weigh the tomatoes that I froze last year, but I figure there were about 25ish pounds.  To freeze, I simply rinsed them with water, cut off any blemishes, and froze in plastic bags.

To use, what I did was pour each bag of tomatoes into a pot of hot tap water, just long enough for the water to allow easy slipping off of the skins. I saved the unblemished skins to put in my dehydrator, as I’ve read about many folks doing this and then blending them up into a powder to use as seasoning.

After the skins were removed, I put all the tomatoes in my electric roaster pan, adding just enough water to the bottom to make me feel they wouldn’t stick or burn. After they started to thaw, I drained that water, as the tomatoes were making their own juice. Once the tomatoes were all thawed and fairly smushed up, I removed all the stems and any other dark pieces. I drained the tomatoes into a large stock pot. Then I used my measure cup and funnel to fill pint jars with the tomato meat and then the juice separately in other jars. I don’t sterilize my clean jars as long as they are being pressure canned for at least ten minutes, and that ten minutes starts after the venting procedure and the count down. Venting is the releasing of steam as the canner gets up to pressure. After ten minutes of venting, I add the 15 pound jiggler, which is what I need for my elevation above sea level. Count down begins after the jiggler starts dancing consistently at least 3 or 4 times per minute. For me, I can reduce the propane flame below the canner at that point as long as the jiggler keeps moving.

I added about one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each pint of tomatoes and juice as so much information is out there saying that modern tomatoes often don’t have the same acidity as years gone by. The acid is needed to help preserve the safety of the tomatoes once canned. I tried a spoon of the tomatoes with the added lemon juice and did not taste the lemon. Research also says that sugar can be added to eliminate any lemon flavor but I did not add any sugar.

After filling the jars, I debubbled them, wiped the rims with the wet lint free washcloth, put on the lids and finger tightened the rings.The canning time for me was 15 minutes pressure canning. I ended up with 9 pints of tomatoes, 4 pints of juice and one 12 ounce jar of juice. The juice was not as thick as store bought tomato juice but I figured I could use it either in any tomato base dish or even cook pasta in it. The next day I saw that two of my tomatoes did not seal. I opened them up, drained them again, and because that then made them less than two pints but more than one pint, I filled two 8 oz jelly jars and one 4 ounce jelly jar and re-processed them with new clean lids. This time they did seal. My rule of thumb which is from much research is I always let the jars sit after processing on a dish towel…the dish towel helps avoid shock from hot jars on a cooler surface…for 24 hours. Then I remove the rings and lift each jar up with one hand on the lid rim and one under the jar just in case it hadn’t sealed. I never store my jars with the rings on as they could conceal a false seal by keeping the lid on, and they also can rust while in my cellar. I store the rings in totes in the cellar.