Have juicy red tomatoes all year long when you learn how to preserve tomatoes. Being the most versatile fruit, tomatoes can be preserved whole, in halves, and with or without spices to flavor them. Tomatoes can be preserved using traditional canning methods and stored for up to a year in your pantry.
To preserve tomatoes, you will need:
- 21 Tomatoes
- Canning pot with rack
- Canning tongs
- Canning funnel
- 7 Canning Jars with lids
- Tomato juice
- Prepare the canning jars and lids. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy and rinse in hot water. Place the jars and lids in a large pot filled with water and boil for 10 minutes. Note: Place the jar lids in a smaller saucepan and boil for at least three minutes. It will be easier to get the lid out of the saucepan when the time comes. Leave the jars and lids in the hot water until used.
- Prepare the tomatoes. Wash the tomatoes in water and remove stems. Boil a large pot of water and place each tomato in the boiling for 40 to 60 seconds or until splits in the tomato skin appear. Remove using a large spoon with drainage holes and dip into a large bowl filled with cold water. This will cause the tomato skins to slip off easily. Remove the tomato skin and core the tomato. The tomato can be preserved whole or cut in half.
- Cook the tomatoes. Place the prepared tomatoes in a pot and cover them completely with tomato juice. Bring the tomato mixture to a boil on a medium high heat and boil for 5 minutes, stirring carefully. Note: Use a splatter screen on the top of the pot to catch the splatters.
- Fill the jars. Remove a hot sterilized jar from the pot with canning tongs and place the canning funnel on the opening of the jar. Fill the jar with tomatoes and hot tomato juice mixture. Leave ½ inch open in the top of the jar for head space. Clean any spillage off the rim with a clean damp paper towel and tighten the lid on the jar. Repeat until all seven jars are filled and sealed.
- Process the jars. Fill the canning pot half full of hot water. Use the canning tongs to transfer the filled and sealed jars to the rack in the canning pot. Add more hot water to the pot until the level of the water is two inches above the lid of the jars. Bring to a boil and boil the filled jars for 85 minutes.
- Cool the preserved tomatoes. Use canning tongs to remove the processed jars from the canning pot to a wire cooling rack. Let the tomatoes cool completely then check the seal of the lid. Press on the center of the lid with a finger. If the lid doesn’t pop up your seal is proper. If the lid pops, the seal is improper and the jar should be refrigerated immediately and consumed within 30 days. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Tips/Warnings: Customize the flavor of your tomatoes with your favorite spices while cooking the tomatoes in tomato juice. For instance, add oregano and basil for an Italian flavor. Add chopped onions and chili peppers for a Mexican flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Keep the filled jars upright at all times during the canning process.