Monday, September 19, 2011

Late Summer Vegetable Canning

So.....I am a little late with my vegetable canning efforts this year as it is nearly Fall already! Nevertheless, I thought I'd post about my first experience with canning vegetables: specifically tomatoes.  Armed with my new pressure canner, pickling salt, mason jars, and all the necessary equipment, I was ready to tackle the art of canning tomatoes.

Our nice heirloom tomatoes pooped out on us this summer due to the intense heat, so I had to supplement the tomato supply with some local farmers' tomatoes I bought.  Following the instructions for tomatoes in Canning & Preserving with Ashley English, I prepared the jars and canning equipment and started on the recipe.

Canning tomatoes has a way of taking over all of the available space on your kitchen counter, plus using up all of your cutting boards and kitchen towels!  Be prepared for your kitchen to get quite messy!

As a beginner, I had to read the instructions for the presser canner two or three different times to understand fully what I was doing. To make a big batch, you have to prepare them in small batches in order for your jars to fit in the canner together. Simply put, after sterilizing and heating the jars, place the heated jars on the counter. Fill each with the directed amount of pickling salt and lemon juice, then funnel the prepared tomatoes into jars, securing with the heated lids. Place the filled jars into the pressure canner filled with 2-3 inches of water, and then follow the instructions for pressure cooking. After the cooking is complete, let jars cool and prepare a new batch.

Although it makes for a lot of work, having a nice batch of canned tomatoes to last through the winter is well worth it!  In addition to plain tomatoes, think about canning tomato sauce, spicy salsas, and roasted tomato and pepper chutneys.  Having a good stock of tomatoes and sauces in your pantry makes it easy to prepare meals such as pasta dishes, soups and stews, pizzas, and even side dishes. I hope to try all of these soon plus try my hand at canning other vegetables such as green beans, pickled beets, okra, peas, roasted corn chutneys and relishes.

Have you been busily canning anything in your kitchen lately?

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  1. Looks wonderful! I didn't can anything this year, I didn't even make jam like I was hoping to. Our tomatoes didn't have a chance...much like anything else in our garden, my little girl picked everything when she'd be outside playing. She would come in with "balls" (green tomatoes) LOL Wonderful memories though. Next year I'm hoping to get in some canning and jamming!

  2. This looks great! I've been canning tomatoes and salsa for the last two weeks. My tomatoes were very late, but I'm grateful they didn't die during the heat. You're going to love having the home canned foods this winter.

  3. Michelle: that is such a sweet memory! My tomatoes didn't do too well either which is why I had to supplement with locally grown ones from a local farmer. You should definitely try your hand at canning next year!

    Edenhills: You are very fortunate your tomatoes survived the heat! I am very much looking forward to having my tomatoes during the winter months :)

  4. Wow, you are brave....I still haven't got the nerve up to buy a pressure canner...too afraid of those things.

    I did however make salsa for the first time ever...and used my water bath...looks like everything turned out great.

    You have a lovely blog.


  5. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

    The most recent edition - - open until Thursday 6/7.