Top | Canning and Preserving
Whole, Crushed, or Quartered Tomatoes
(recipe, Ashley English)
If you're looking for an ideal way to pack away the exquisite taste of one of summer's most beloved fruits, look no further. In a few short steps, you'll be on your way to enjoying tomato deliciousness year-round.
- 18 to 20 lb. meaty tomatoes, such as Roma
- Bottled lemon juice or citric acid powder
- Pickling salt
- Wash 14 pint-sized mason jars, lids, and ring bands. Remember to inspect the jars for cracks, chips, or scratches, and ensure that the ring bands are rust-free. Although you don't need to sterilize jars that will be pressure canned, you will need your jars to be hot when filled in order to prevent them from cracking. You can either run the jars through the dishwasher, keeping them warm until ready for use, or place the jars in a stockpot or boiling-water-bath canner, cover them with water, and keep the canner simmering until ready for use.
- Wash the tomatoes. Make a small crosshatch score across the bottom of each fruit. Fill a large metal bowl with ice water, and place in the sink.
- Put the rack in the bottom of the pressure canner, fill with 2 to 3 inches of water, and set over low heat (adjust as needed, according to the manufacturer's instructions for your model). With the lid off, bring just to the boiling point.
- Place the jar lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and leave on the stovetop till needed.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the skins split. Using a slotted spoon, ladle the tomatoes into the ice-water bath. When they are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and cut out the cores. Depending on your preference, quarter, halve, or leave the tomatoes whole.
- Place the hot mason jars on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. Into each jar, place ½ teaspoon salt and either 1 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon citric acid powder. With the help of a canning funnel, pack the tomatoes tightly and evenly into the jars, reserving ½-inch headspace in each jar.
- Use a nonmetallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles, ensuring that all voids in the jar are filled with juice. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on the lids and ring bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.
- Using a jar lifter, place the jars into the canner. Remember to exhaust the vent first. Process at 15 pounds pressure for 15 minutes if using a weighted-gauge canner, or at 11 pounds pressure for 25 minutes if using a dial-gauge canner. Remember to adjust for altitude (see related excerpt, below, for more information on pressure canning as well as altitude adjustment).
- Cool down the canner completely before opening the lid, holding it facing away from you to avoid steam burns. Using a jar lifter or tongs, remove the jars one at a time. Try to avoid tilting the jars as you remove them from the canner. Place the jars on a towel and allow them to cool, untouched, for 24 hours. (You might want to drape a cloth over your jars to keep them from catching drafts, as cooling too quickly can cause jars to crack.)
- When the jars are cool, press on each lid with a fingertip; if the lid flexes, the jar isn’t sealed. You can reprocess unsealed jars in a boiling-water bath or simply store the unsealed jars in the fridge. Tighten the ring bands, or remove the ring bands completely. Label and date each jar before storing them in a cool, dark, dry location.