Friday, September 18, 2009

Home Canned Summer Tomatoes

What is better than a vine ripened summer tomato? Rather, what is second to a vine ripened summer tomato? Jars of vine ripened summer tomatoes, home canned. Popping open one of these beauties, in winter, when it is freezing outside, releases the aroma of summer tomatoes and the memory of sun filled days.

I want to share my enthusiam for home canning, and some advice from my experience. I do my canning following the guidelines of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Please educate yourself on safe food handling and canning practices before beginning a project such as this. There is a lot of work involved, and the last thing you want is having your jars of food spoiling.

Begin with perfect fruit and wash thoroughly with fresh water and a vegetable brush.

To peel, plunge the fruits into boiling water, then into cold water, the skins will slip right off.

Core the tomatoes, slice if desired, and bring to a boil.

While working on your tomatoes, sterilize your clean jars in simmering water and keep hot until ready to pack. Follow manufacturer's directions for the lids, some want to be boiled, some not, depending on the sealing compound used.

Process your jars of tomatoes according to the recommendations of your area. I live at a higher altitude, so have to process a little longer than some may.

The pops and pings of the jars sealing is musical and satisfying.

I bought 2 twenty-five pound boxes of tomatoes at the Farmers Market for $8 each and I got 10 quarts of tomatoes from each one. I already had the jars, most passed along to me from my Mother-in-law, Phloxy, who no longer cans. With the cost of lids (cheap) and fuel, I still spent less than $1 per quart of tomatoes.

And I have provenance.


  1. I work for Extension in North Dakota and just began following your blog. Thank you for talking about proper canning methods, to many people are not doing it correctly and running the risk of botulism, e coli and others.

  2. Thanks for your visit and your very important comment. I don't want people to be afraid of canning, just very sanitary and well informed. That's what professionals, like you, do, right?

  3. My mother canned our homegrown tomatoes when I was young and you are right, in the winter nothing is better! She made beef vegetable soup and spagetti sauce mainly with them. It was soooo good! I would like to try to can some, but am kind of scared--I'm afraid either the glass will break from being hot, or I'll do it wrong and we'll get botulism. Any thoughts?

  4. Call your local Extention Service to request information. Read everything completely before beginning. Use only Mason canning jars (there are several brands). And as Julia Child would say, "Don't be afraid!"