Thursday, 4 September 2014

Canning Tomatoes

I am trying to increase the amount of home-made food we consume in our house, I've already reduced a lot of the processed food we eat and this summer I am working on preserving things we use often. I like to know what's in my food and I'm finding more and more that it's hard to find food in stores that doesn't contain a list of ingredients that I can't even pronounce let alone have any idea what they are or why they are being added to my food.

This unfortunately means more work for me, a whole lot of preserving, more planning, and less convenience foods.

I started a garden this year and although small, it has provided us with some home-grown food that I was able to preserve for the coming months. I have also been able to find wild berries, organic fruit, and local produce to help in that process. I'm working on canning tomatoes as we use a lot during the year. I probably purchase the equivalent of two cans of tomatoes, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or tomato paste per week, sometimes as many as 6, depending on the menu, so I'm attempting to make a small dent in the amount we buy from the store for the next year. I know it's no where near the amount I should make, but I just don't have that kind of time!

Canning whole tomatoes was easy...diced not so much. That was a lot of work! If you want to try your hand at canning some fresh produce this year, I use this website for all the basic canning information -

I stuffed as many tomatoes as I could into the jars and squished and squished until the juice was almost to the 1/2" headspace line (my jars have a line...I didn't know that before!). I added some lemon juice and a tiny bit of salt to each jar and topped it up with a little tomato juice if needed. 

Then I cleaned the rims really well, added the lids and rings and popped them into the canner for 85 minutes...that's a long time and I'm pretty close to sea level here!

I can only fit 4 quart jars in my canner, so it's taken me a few days to get this all done, but here we are...canned tomatoes, enough for a few weeks at least!

Pasta sauce and pizza sauce are also done! Now I'm ready for a big ol' spaghetti and meat sauce meal!


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