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Late summertime is the time of the year when I have an abundance of tomatoes. We eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but there is still a lot left over. Since I don’t want to waste any, I can either can them or freeze them. That way, you can enjoy your tomatoes all year long. In the middle of winter, nothing tastes as good as Italian pasta sauce made with your own tomatoes.
Canning tomatoes is good if you have a lot of tomatoes all at once. This is definitely the case if you have grown Roma tomatoes. They are of the determinate type and produce a heavy crop in a short period of time. Since tomatoes are acid based, they can be preserved in a water bath.
- First wash your tomatoes and discard any that are very bruised or have open cracks. I always make a small slash in the bottom of the tomato. It helps the skins to slip right off.
- Place them in boiling water until the skins start to split and then plunge them into cold water. The skins will come right off.
- I cut out the core and blend them quickly in my blender. I like to heat my tomatoes in order to do a hot pack.
- I sterilize my canning jars in the dishwasher and boil my lids and rims for 5 minutes in a saucepan.
- Fill your water bath canner and bring the water to a boil. Fill the jars to within a half inch of the top with the hot tomatoes and add 1 tsp of salt per quart jar. Wipe the rim of the jars to make sure there are no food particles on the rim. Screw on the lids with the rims and put them in the canner. Bring the water to a rolling boil and process them for 10 minutes.
- Remove them and place on a towel away from drafts and listen for the jars to seal. You will hear a “pop” that will let you know they are sealed.
Freezing tomatoes is very simple. Process the tomatoes to remove the skin as described above. Then either quarter them or place them whole in freezer bags. Lay them flat in the freezer until they are hard. Then you can stack them neatly on your freezer shelves.
Frozen tomatoes are best used in soups or stews.
Before you do any canning or freezing, it’s a good idea to have a how-to book on preserving foods. Amazon has a good selection of canning and freezing books.