This year the tomatoes did the best by far. The tomato is a very versatile fruit. (Yes, tomatoes are a fruit). We use this in pasta sauces, salsas, pizza, ketchup, and soups. However, the tomato does not have a long shelf life. The picked ripe garden tomato has an even shorter life. Even in the refrigerator mine last maybe a week or a little more.
So, what can we do to make the most of all the work to grow these? We CAN them! Most tomato recipies can be canned with a simple water bath canner. There is no need to use a pressure cooker since the recipies have a high acid content.
Canning does require some supplies (most of which are reusable) and a bit of time. Here is a list of the supplies needed:
Large pot to fit all jars with seals and still have water over the jars
Medium pots for sterilizations
New canning lids
Canning utensil kit – this could be optional but having the correct tools is really good.
Strainer – depending on the recipe
Canning mix packet or spices to add
Lemon juice – may be required for some recipes
Kitchen scale – the tomatoes do not care if it is expensive as long as it is accurate
The first step is to wash sterilize the canning jars, lids, and rings. I always use a new canning lid. The wax seal under the lid may fail if the lid is used more than once. I sterilize all three by boiling them in water for 15 minutes.
The recipe and directions I used was found at www.pickyourown.org
This website has great directions and pictures to help anyone looking to preserving their own food.
Next I packed the jars, fitted the lids and bands, and put them in the boiling water bath. The length of time depends on altitude. I use 15 minutes since I am at a fairly low altitude. These are the half pint jars of tomato sauce in the water bath.