We have a 10ft x 10ft garden, with 18 Beefsteak tomato plants. The tomatoes ripened fast and furious !! More than the two of us could possibly eat. I canned 9 quart jars and 6 pint jars in the past two weeks. I figured that would keep me through the winter! Had not planned to can anymore tomatoes. But....................I went grocery shopping and the Bushel and a half boxes were on sale, they looked so nice and tasty, and I thought how wonderful they would be in the winter for soups, stews, making my own pasta sauce, throwing on pasta, could not resist. Tomatoes perish quickly so I canned them that afternoon.
I like to pressure can - takes less time than water bath and when you are doing 4 canner loads that is a lot of time saving!! Hmmmm 4 x 85 minutes or 4 x 15 minutes.
Step 1: Gathering the Equipment
24 – 28 - 1 quart/litre size Mason jars. Any brand will work nicely.
Lids and rings - make sure you buy/have the right size for your jars
Large bowls (for the peeled tomatoes)
Large pots for boiling water to scald the tomatoes
Smaller pot of boiling water to simmer the seals & rings in (I like to rings to be warm when placed on the seals)
A paring knife and a chef's knife
Salt (I use sea salt - but any good table salt will work)
Jar lifter for grabbing those hot jars
Canning funnel for filling the jars
Magnetic lid lifter – for taking the hot seals and rings out of the water
Canning Jar Wrench – I use this to empty the hot water out of the waiting jars (saves your fingers)
Pressure Canner - the one I use is a Mirro 22 Quart weighted Gauge
Step 2: Wash & Sterilize Jars
Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well.
The tomatoes will be cold pack, raw, so it is not necessary to keep the jars hot.
I keep the jars warm, so they don't crack when you add the water to the canner.
Filling them 1/3 full with boiling water will keep them warm.
Note: while you are washing jars, put two larges pots of water on the stove to boil - these will be used to scald the tomatoes.
Step 3: Preparing the Tomatoes
Wash the tomatoes and set aside.
Transfer the tomatoes in small batches into the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds - until skin shows a crack.
Once the skin shows a crack, remove from boiling water and plunge into cold water.
I use my kitchen sink filled with cold water, that way when the water gets warm from the tomatoes - I can release some of the warm and add more cold.
Hint: too many tomatoes in the pot cools the water right down - works best with 6 to 8 tomatoes in the pot.
Step 4: Peel and Chop the Tomatoes
The skin, should pull right off with a paring knife.
After all the tomatoes are skinned it is time to chop and fill the jars. To keep the rim clean I insert the canning funnel into the jar before I fill them.
While you are chopping warm the seals in rings in a pot of boiled water.
Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the canner (keeps hard water stains off the jars and the inside of the canner), and 2 to 3 inches of hot water before adding the jars.
User the jar wrench to pick up the jar and empty the water, just before filling the jar.
Add 1/2 to 1tsp of salt to the jar - depending on your taste. I only use 1/2 tsp - just enough to flavour the tomatoes.
Remove the top off the tomatoes chop into quarters and fill the jar.
Using a wooden or plastic spoon press down on the tomatoes in the jar. You want to get as many tomatoes in the jar as possible.
I found that it to 8 to 10 tomatoes for each quart jar.
Once jar is full place a hot seal and ring on the jar, tighten down and place in pressure canner.
The canner will hold 7 - 1 quart jars on.
Once all the jars are in the canner the water should be 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of the jar. As you can see from the picture the jars raise the level of the water when they are added.
If the water is too high remove water with a measuring cup.
Step 5: Ready to Process!!
Put the lid on the canner secure tight, weighted petcock should be 10 lbs pressures.
0-1000 ft sealevel - 10lbs pressure for 15 minutes
above 1000 ft seal level - 15lbs pressure for 15 minutes
Video shows 15lbs pressure.
Picture shows 10 lbs pressure.
Turn the burner on high, heat until the petcock is furiously dancing, then turn the heat down to medium-high - the petcock should be doing a gentle dance at this time.
Time for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes remove the canner from the burner.
The canner will take 20 to 30 minutes to cool and release all the pressure. You will know when it is safe to open the canner when you don't hear escaping pressure anymore.
Open the canner, remove the jars with the jar lifter, dry with a towel and place on a towel to cool.
If you have more jars to process you can put them in the canner, make sure the water level is correct, seal the canner, turn on the heat and start again.
Step 6: Roma Sunday Tomatoes!!
Here they are - finished and ready to store in a cool place, and enjoy until next summer!!!
Canning the tomatoes this way gives you more versatility – you can throw them on pasta with olive oil and spices, make pasta sauce out of them, add them to stews and soups or any recipe you can dream up.