Canned tomatoes maintain their delicious flavor and color for up to a year. Here’s a detailed guide on how to can tomatoes safely using the hot pack method.
The first step on how to can tomatoes is to choose the right ones. The main guiding factor to keep in mind here is that high acid content tomatoes are best. This is because the acid helps preserve the tomatoes, maintaining their flavor and color.
It is recommended that you choose tomatoes that are known to have a high level of acidity; some types tend to have low acidity and are unsuitable for canning, unless an acidic additive is used. Ripe tomatoes tend to have the best level of acidity; it is worth mentioning that overly ripe tomatoes may have a very high level of acidity.
Remove The Skins And Stems
The next step on how to can tomatoes is to remove the skin and the hard part which attaches to the stem. To remove the skin, you will need a boiling pot of water, and a separate pan of cold/iced water.
Dip your ripe tomatoes into the pot of boiling water, allowing each tomato to remain in the boiling water for about thirty to forty five seconds, before removing it and placing it in the ice cold water. Remove the tomatoes from the cold water and place them on a table top, where you can start peeling off the skin. Remove the hard part that attaches to the stem as well.
The peeled tomatoes should then be cut into quarters in readiness for canning.
The Canning Process
The last step on how to can tomatoes is the actual canning process. Start by sterilizing the jars and lids using hot water. You can place them in the dishwasher and set it to the highest temperature; once this is done you can start placing the chopped tomatoes into the jars.
Remember that you will need to add an acidic additive into the jars, at this point, if you are using low acidity tomatoes. Fill each jar with boiling hot tomatoes, leaving about an inch of empty space at the top of the jar. Be sure to fill out any air spaces in the jar to prevent the development of bacteria during preservation.
If you will be using a cooking pot as a canner, add water up to the half way point and then bring it to a boil. Place the canning jars with the lid in place into the boiling water. Make sure that the water level in the canner is above the canning jars by about two inches; if not, add more water. Place a lid on the canner.
The jars need to remain in the water for about 35 minutes for pints, and 45 minutes for quarts. These times vary with the altitude of your location, so be sure to counter check for accurate numbers.
Once the stipulated time has passed, remove the jars from the water and place them on a towel to cool down. This may take several hours. You can check whether the lids are properly sealed by pressing down at the center; if the lid moves, you will need to use the tomatoes immediately as the seal did not form properly.
The jars should be stored in a cool pantry, while their contents should be used in no more than a year.