Friday, February 27, 2015

Cold-Packed Canned Tomatoes

So I finally had enough tomatoes to fill a quart jar, then got realistic.  I never buy the large cans of tomatoes, just the 15 oz ones.  I simply don't use that much at once.  There is no reason for me to can a quart of tomatoes in a single jar.  So I got out two pints instead.  I guess the quarts will be for beverages and stock.  I've been doing batches of cold-brewed tea during my vacation to stay low-caf.  It's so hard; I spent the first two days in a fog and never completely woke up.  I had some half-caf over the weekend when I decided to drive out to Palm Springs for the day, and really felt the difference.

Sidebar, if you ever go out that way, there's a grocery store at the Cabazon Outlet Mall/ Morongo Casino exit called Hadley's Orchards.  It has been there far longer than the other two destinations, and was a must when I was little.  On the way there or back, we would always stop for lunch, dates, and peanut butter.  I didn't buy any peanut butter this time, just dates and a banana-date milkshake.  I was in a bit of a rush to beat the Oscar Sunday rainstorm home.  I had barely made it up and down the Tramway before the fog settled in and made the hiking trails less interesting.
As with most canned foods, prepping is the time-consuming part.  Because these are packed raw, you don't have to stand over a pot very much.  I just hate peeling tomatoes.

For other tomato canning options, see the Ball page I got this recipe from.

*2 to 2-1/2 lbs tomatoes
2 Tb bottled lemon juice (for consistent acidity)
kosher salt if desired

1.  Wash tomatoes, 2 pint jars, and a half-pint jar in case there is more than you expected.  Set the jars in  your canning pot to get hot.  Wash new lids and the bands and set aside.  Set a smaller pot of water to boil and fill a bowl with ice water.

2.  Core tomatoes and score the bottoms with an X mark.  Blanch in the smaller pot for about 30 seconds, until the skin starts to peel away.  Immediately remove to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  The skins will peel right off.

3.  Either quarter, halve, or leave the tomatoes whole.  I quartered mine because I always end up chopping up whole tomatoes from the can.  Might as well do it today.

4.  Rescue the jars from the now-simmering water and crank it up to full.  Fill jars with tomatoes, leaving a half-inch headspace.  Add 1 Tb lemon juice and 1/2 tsp kosher salt (if desired) to each jar.  I left mine salt-free so I can add it as I go with whatever dish they get added to.

5.  Ladle hot water from the blanching pot into the jars up to the half-inch of head space.  Remove bubbles with whatever poky thing you use (I have the plastic tool that's long enough for quart jars) and wipe the rims with a damp paper towel.  Warm the lids in the not-quite-boiling canning pot water for several seconds to soften the sealant and center on the jars.  Close with bands to a finger-tight tension and place jars in the pot.

6.  Bring water to a boil, then start timer.  45 minutes for quarts, 40 minutes for pints, and 35 for half-pints.  (I used my spillover jar for possibly the second time ever.  I usually overestimate how much product I have.)

7.  Once processed, remove jars to a towel or wooden surface.  Never place a hot jar on tile or rock.  It will probably crack from the sudden change in temperature.  The two on the left of the top photo show that the tomatoes will be floating near the top.  The jar on the right shows that they settle back down after they have cooled a bit.  Allow to cool to room temperature and check seals after 24 hours.  If they hold, you can remove the rims and store for up to 1 year.  If the seal fails, put the jar in the fridge and use within one week.

Makes about 2 pints (1 quart)

Difficulty rating :-0

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