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Gary350
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Canning tomatoes in mason jars.

In the past people has asked how to can tomatoes in mason jars. I canned tomatoes yesterday and took some pics and kept track of my time. This is a process not a recipe so I assume the thread belongs her not in recipes.

I started off with several different types of tomatoes, Beef Steak, Big Beef, Beef Master, Jet Star, German Johnson. I wash the tomatoes and throw out any tomatoe that is more than 1/2 bad it is a waste of time to salvage a small piece of tomato.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/100_0112.jpg[/img]

Next I cut the tomatoes in pieces and cut off bad places and the core.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t2.jpg[/img]

All the tomatoes go into two 3 gallon pots to cook until they boil.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t3.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t4.jpg[/img]

After the tomatoes boil I skim off the skins and save the juice that drips off the skins as they drain. This is a much faster way to remove skins than dipping each tomatoe in hot water 1 at a time. Now the tomatoes are ready to put in jars. Up to this point I have 1 hr 5 minutes work in this project.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t5.jpg[/img]

Now I put the tomatoes in mason jars. I fill the jars up to the bottom edge of the funnel. The canning book says to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar but I never do that. My wife is watching her salt because of high blood pressure and I like to season vegatable soup, chili, other soups, sauces and other things at the time they are made. If the salt is already in the tomatoes I can not get it out if a recipe calls for less salt.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t6.jpg[/img]

Now I put on the lids. I never boil lids of jars. I rinse the dust off the jars and make sure the seal lip of the jar is not chipped. Screw on the rings and place all the jars in pots with about 1/2" of water above the top of the jars. Up to this point I have 1 hr 45 minutes work in this project.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t7.jpg[/img]

Next I boil all the jars for 20 minutes. I don't use a pressure cooker on tomatoes. It takes 20 minutes for both the water bath and pressure cooker to boil. It takes 20 minutes for the pressure cooker to come up to pressure and the water bath is already finished by then. It takes another 10 minutes for the pressure cooker to cook 10 minutes. It saves me time not to use the pressure cooker plus I only have 1 large pressure cooker. I don't have to hang around for this I can do other things. I have 2 hrs 5 minutes work it this project. I have learned to do this faster over the year just from practice.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t8.jpg[/img]

After the jars all cook for 20 minutes I turn off the heat and let them set. In about 5 hours they will be cool. Remove the jars from the pot, rinse, dry, label with date, store in pantry. I have 22 pints of tomatoes on this batch. Next time I will do all quarts.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/t9.jpg[/img]

I try not to keep tomatoes in the pantry longer than 5 years. Tomatoes in a freezer would have freezer burn after 1 year plus I would have to pay for electricity for that freezer too. Salt in the tomatoes is suppose to keep them from turning brown after 5 years. I have all the jars dated and I have nothing in the pantry older than 3 years most of the time. The tomatoes taste just as good as the day they were picked in the garden.

I can other things. I canned 65 pints of green beans last summer and still have 30 cans in the pantry so I won't can many beans this year. I have 6 jars of blackberry jam from last year and 10 quarts of apple pie filling from the year before. I still have 6 jars of taco sauce from several years ago I might can some taco sauce this year.

My canning book says, for high acid tomatoes process in boiling water bath or pressure cooker. Cook time for cold pack in hot water bath is, 45 minutes for quarts and 35 minutes for pints. Cook time for hot pack in hot water bath is 30 min for qt and 25 min for pt. When using a pressure cooker with 15 lbs of pressure times can be reduced by 10 minutes. When canning low acid tomatoes on vinegar or citric acid is needed if canned in a pressure cooker 15 lbs. for 45 minutes.
Last edited by Gary350 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Great teaching photos and guide.

I noticed that you cook and then remove the skins, contrary to the usual advice of dipping whole tomatoes in boiling water, quick chilling, to remove the skins, and then cut them up for boiling. I assume that you have discovered this way to be more efficient. I am amazed at your time frame to do this. To me it always seems to take longer than that.

Please keep us posted on your canning. The how-to books are one thing, but seeing folks actually doing the canning should encourage many folks to try it.
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This is a great tomato processing guide!

There was also a wonderful thread about canning recently, in which many canning experts weighed in... now where was it? .... Ah! here it is :D
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27562

Here's a guideline for acidifying:
Acidify tomatoes.
To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, you must add bottled lemon juice or food grade citric acid to each jar before processing. For quarts, use 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1⁄2 teaspoon citric acid per quart. For pints use 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1⁄4 teaspoon citric acid. Food grade citric acid is available at some food stores or drug stores. Do not substitute ascorbic acid for citric acid. If the canned tomatoes are too tart for your taste, add a little sugar or sweetener before serving. Four tablespoons vinegar (5% acidity) per quart can be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid but may cause undesirable changes in flavor.
https://www.extension.iastate.edu/publications/pm638.pdf

As I mentioned in one of the posts in the linked thread, I used red wine vinegar last year with some of mine and they turned out yummy.

Examples of higher acid canning tomatoes are traditional varieties like Roma and San Marzano. I wonder if there's a list somewhere of other higher acid varieties :?:

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Ozark Lady wrote:Great teaching photos and guide.

I noticed that you cook and then remove the skins, contrary to the usual advice of dipping whole tomatoes in boiling water, quick chilling, to remove the skins, and then cut them up for boiling. I assume that you have discovered this way to be more efficient. I am amazed at your time frame to do this. To me it always seems to take longer than that.

Please keep us posted on your canning. The how-to books are one thing, but seeing folks actually doing the canning should encourage many folks to try it.
You are right it would take a lot longer if you follow the instructions in most canning books. I learned several short cuts that makes it much faster. I never dip tomatoes in boiling water anymore to remove the skins. I never boil the jars or lids. I don't waste time trying to salvage damage tomatoes. I get several pots going all at the same time I can reduce cooking time by 1/2 with 2 pot. I can reduce boil canning time by 2/3 if I use 3 pots. I save time by not using the pressure cooker. It is rare to loose a jar. Last time I lost a jar it had a piece of tomatoe under the seal. These tomatoes have plenty of acid so water bath works best. I don't use water bath on beans but my canning book says I can. It is too much work and the loss of my vegatables to loose any jars by not doing a good job. Tomatoes are the only vegs I do water bath on they have acid other vegs don't.

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Nice Gary but you are still talking a foreign language to me to me. I got a pressure cooker for Christmas but still haven't used it. Basically because I have no real idea of how to do what safe. But I will figure it out and thank to this I am one step further.

As far as what you did when you drained all the juice out. I suppose you just took the meats of the fruit that was left for canning. What do you use this kind of stuff for? I'm wanting to make canned spaghetti sauce myself for the beginning wouldn't you save the sauce as well? But Than again you would probably have to cook up the toms with all spices and what not before canning something like that right?

Thanks

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Gixx, he is canning whole tomatoes, or diced tomatoes.
To make sauce or paste he would need to cook it and condense it down alot. He can save the juice and can it up as tomato juice, or add vegetables and can it as a veg soup base and then pressure can it, lots of uses for the left over juice too.

Many folks use a crock pot for making the tomatoes into a sauce.
If you add onions, and peppers to the tomatoes, then you no longer have an acid food and must pressure can it.

What would he use the whole tomatoes for? Spaghetti sauce, chili, macaroni and tomatoes, soups, all kinds of things.
When I make spaghetti, I make my sauce while the noodles cook and I use tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste all three.

If you just can the tomatoes with nothing added you can use them like you want to. If you make 10 spaghetti sauce, 10 chili sauce, 10 ketchup etc. You will likely use all of one and wish for more, but have other items that go to waste. But leaving them pure tomatoes you can use it as you wish.
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Good point OL like I said I'm a virgin to this.

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Gary, thank you for this thread. What a great help!

:D

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We will help ya through it Gixx.
I do suggest that you get the Ball Blue Book.
It will teach you safety and the basics, and then, you can see short cuts and determine if they are safe for you to use and how much time it will save you.

Also, check with your county, they all have an agricultural department with canning guides that are free. Knowledge is power!

In your canning, the more uses you have for the product, like the tomatoes, the less is the likelihood of all of your hard work, being dumped out as food that just wasn't ate.

I have dumped many cases of food, that just sat in the pantry year in and year out... this is how we learned.

For instance, one year I canned a lifetime supply of cherries... they didn't keep for a lifetime... lesson learned... it wasn't worth my time and effort.

This year, I have enough plums to can a lifetime supply, will I do it? No way! I learned that lesson. No way will I can more than a dozen jars of plum jam or preserves.

I will have to find creative ways to use up lots of plums. Plum pudding? Plum ice cream? There has to be lots of ways to use up a tree that went crazy in production this year! I am tired of eating plums by the way! The freezer is looking plum red! ha ha I have my jars, but only 12 will go for plum jam or jelly. 12 for Elderberries, 12 for peaches, well maybe 18 since we really like peach preserves, 12 for strawberry, you get the picture, not 48 jars of plum jam! Plum/Strawberry jam? Hmm?

You just really need to look at your eating patterns and don't can alot more than you can eat before they go bad.

Hey, folks check out Tractor Supply... I found really nice 8 quart buckets there for .99 and a huge plastic container 7 gallons, that I will use to make homemade sauerkraut with my cabbage (I will be starting over) for $2.99. So, for maximizing your gardening, you gotta watch for bargains and they can be in odd places, like Tractor Supply... I was looking for a stainless steel bucket for milking... hmm hit the jackpot.
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For sauces w/o chunks like Pizza sauce , I don't skin mine either I cut bigger ones in half and put the smaller ones in the blender whole. I grind them up fine and run them through a steel meshed collander to get the skins and seeds out, then I cook them down.

For spagetti sauce w/t chunks, I use the same method but add chunks of skinless, seedless tomatoes at the last 1/2 hour of cooking time.

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Ozark Lady is right pure tomatoes can be used to make anything you like. I like to cook and I like cooking much better in the winter. In the past I canned things like 10 quarts of chili, 10 quarts of vegatable soup, 6 pints of ketchup, etc. but now days I just can pure tomatoes then if I am in the mood for chili I open a quart jar of tomatoes to make it. Plums make the best wine. I have been looking for plums for years but no luck. I planted a plum tree 2 years ago but no plums yet. I wish I could get enough plum juice from you to make 5 gallons of wine. Pears also make some fine wine.

The to person with the pressure cooker. I guess I assume too much if your still in the dark I need to explain it better. Inspect your jars for dirt and damage. Run your finger around the top to see if there are any chips. If the glass is chipped trash the jar. Clean the jar after each use next time you want to use them all you need to do is rinse out the dust. That special funnel I use if for canning it keep the top edge of the jar clean. Fill the jars up to 1/2 inch from the top. Make sure the top edge of the jar is clean then place a lid on top then screw on the ring. Tighten the ring fairly tight. Place your jars in the pressure cooker. Fill the pressure cooker with water 1/2" above the jars. There are many different size presure cookers that hold 5 to 15 jars. Put the pressure cooker top on then place the weight on tip. Some pressure cookers give you the option 5, 10 and 15 lbs of pressure. Use 15 lbs of pressure. If your vegatables are already hot in the jars be sure to use hot tap water to fill the pressure cooker because cold water sometimes will crack the jars. If the vegatables in the jars are cold the fill the pressure cooker with cold water. Turn on the stove and let the pressure cooker heat up. It may take 20 to 45 minutes to get hot depending on how large your pressure cooker is and if your doing pints or quarts and if the water inside it cold or hot tap water. After the steam starts to build up the weight on top will start to release pressure and it make a sound sorta like an old Steam Locomotive. Turn down the heat but keep it hot enough to keep the steam coming out of the pressure cooker. Let it cook for the correct about of time according to the vegatable and jar size your canning. When the time is up turn off the heat. Next it if very important to let it set there and cool down all by itself. Do not force cool it with cold water or ice. It about 2 hours you can remove the top of the pressure cooker. In a few more hours you can remove the jars. Tighten the ring slightly, wash the jars, dry jars, label jars, put jars inpantry. If your still in the dark let me know. Buy a canning book at the book store it will tell you the cooking times you need to know for each vegatable.

I revised the original thread. I see I did not explain it well a couple folks didn't understand the part about the skins and juice. Juice stays with the tomatoes I was only draining the juice off the skins so I could return the juice to the tomatoes. Another thing I learns from past experence if you fill jars with cold tomatoes then after canning the jars are only about 2/3 full. Tomatoes must have air trapped inside. Cooking the tomatoes first releases all the air so the jars are full after canning.
Last edited by Gary350 on Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Another reason for pure foods is: Some spices and flavorings change with time, whether you freeze it or can it.
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Gary, thank you VERY much for the effort you have put into this thread. This will be our first year canning and your method and simplification will be put to use!!

I am curious as to your techniques on the "taco sauce" you mention.

We intend on making several batches of salsa as our garden is mainly tomatoes and various peppers. We have a good recipe, but no canning method for any long term storage.

Thank you again!!
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https://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ is a great resource for canning information and recipes.

Gixx, go to wally world and buy the Ball Blue Book. It's a great starter for water bath canning and pressure canning.

Be careful of "good salsa" recipes. Not all of them are suitable for canning. Compare your recipe to a proven canning recipe first. Acid content is a major concern for water bath recipes.

Gary, if you are filling your pressure canner with that much water you don't really need to. 3-4 inches in the bottom before you put the jars in is enough. It takes less time to get the canner up to heat and pressure that way too. I lower the heat after the canner is up to pressure so the jiggler rocks several times a minute, you'll not have to worry about cooking the canner dry that way.

If anyone needs help let us know, there is lots of brain power on the forum. :lol:

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Yes, there is, HM. Yes, there is... :D

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hit or miss wrote:https://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ is a great resource for canning information and recipes.

Gixx, go to wally world and buy the Ball Blue Book. It's a great starter for water bath canning and pressure canning.

Be careful of "good salsa" recipes. Not all of them are suitable for canning. Compare your recipe to a proven canning recipe first. Acid content is a major concern for water bath recipes.

Gary, if you are filling your pressure canner with that much water you don't really need to. 3-4 inches in the bottom before you put the jars in is enough. It takes less time to get the canner up to heat and pressure that way too. I lower the heat after the canner is up to pressure so the jiggler rocks several times a minute, you'll not have to worry about cooking the canner dry that way.

If anyone needs help let us know, there is lots of brain power on the forum. :lol:
The problem I worry about with low water level in the canner is the water boils too soon. Water boils at 212 degree before the vegatable in the jar have time to come up to the same temperature. If the water boils and the food in the jar is only 150 deg and you boil for 20 minutes then the actual time the food boils will be less because it will take long for the food to come up to temperature. I just now measured a pint mason jar it is 5" tall. I think 4" of water would be fine and like you said it would heat up faster. I am all for anything that makes it faster.

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It is my understanding that too much water in the pressure canner will actually lower the temperatures of the foods.
Boiling water will not get hotter than the boiling temp of water, in my case I use a higher altitude processing time, because water boils differently for me at my 1500-1800 feet.

The idea behind pressure canning is: you only have steam in there, because steam is hotter than boiling water. The rack protects the jars... they used to can in the oven, same temps and no water. But the oven doesn't have pressure to drive the temp into the jar. Don't oven can!

When I put foods on to pressure can, I have to vent the cooker for a certain amount of time, prior to adding the weight gage.
I have noticed that the water starts boiling and steam venting, and my timing of that process varies with how hot the food is that I put in there.
With room temperature foods, it could be 10-20 minutes until that first trickle of steam rises and I start my timing, prior to weighting and beginning actual timing of the processing. But with really hot food, it could start venting steam in only 5 minutes or so. It also varies on the density of the food that you are canning. If you have lots of liquid and little solids it is not difficult to heat all the way through. But, if you are canning spinach packed in tight with little moisture, then is when I add an extra 5 minutes to the processing time, to make sure that the temperature all the way through is high enough. Boiling water will not kill the spores that lead to botulism, and it only grows anaerobically.

On another forum, a poster cans all their food with no water added to the jars. I am serious, he has the most beautiful corn that he shows, and it has no water in it at all. It stays yellow and gorgeous. I am going to review that thread and see if he still gets it hot enough to be safe.

I pressure can fish that we have caught, and the bones are just like sardines, soft and chewy. I can milk, and meats not just vegetables. If you pressure can milk, you follow meat recipes on time, it will change colors and look like evaporated milk, and taste very similar, great for same uses as evaporated milk.

I need to do some milk canning, I have 6-7 gallons in the fridge at the moment. Guess I need to get my camera home!

I love my pressure canner!
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Water temp in a pressure cooker is the same temp as the steam. Example: Water boils at room temperature in a vacuum (at 32 degrees it will sublimate from ice to vapor, passing the liquid stage altogether), It will boil at lower than 212 at altitude (lower air pressure), at 212 at sea level, and the water coming out of hydrothermal vents on the sea floor can be 600 degrees or higher but does not boil because of the pressure.

Letting the pressure off in a pressure cooker will drop the pressure in the air space quickly while the water stays the same. The super heated water will then boil. All of that rock and roll around the lids can't be good so covering them with water would protect them a bit from swinging conditions that could pop the tops off.

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Here is a super heated steam table.

https://www.simetric.co.uk/si_supersteam.htm

The water in a pressure cooker will always be the same temperature as the steam. At 15 psi steam pressure water boils at 250 degrees.

If you use a very low water level in a pressure cooker it will boil much faster and build up steam pressure much faster than a higher water level. It takes time for the temperature inside the jars to warm up to the same temperature as the water.

Do this experement. Cut a piece of clothes hanger wire 6" long. Hold one end of the wire with your finger tips and stick the other end of the wire in the flame of a candle. Hold it there and watch the clock to see how long it takes for the heat to transfer through the wire to your fingers. Mason jars in a pressure cooker do the same thing as the wire. Water in the pressure cooker heats up and has to transfer that heat through the glass jar and into the food. Glass has a very low heat transfer rate. If the water in the pressure cooker boils quick the food inside the jars will only be warm. If you boil the water for 10 minutes the food in the jars will get hotter but it still may not be up to the same temperature as the water in the cooker. I have had jars crack and break when using only a few inches of water in the pressure cooker. The bottom half of the jar gets hot in low water volume and the top half of the jar is still cold since glass have a very low expansion rate the hot end makes the glass crack. I method may be a little slower filling the pressure cooker up 1/2" above my jars but it is much safer I don't want to loose any jars especially after all the work I have done growing the garden and canning the vegatables.

It works best to put lots of water in the cooker so it heats up slow this gives the food in the jars time to heat up too.

I have experemented with no water vegatables in jars but my vegatables come out dehydrated. Corn and beans are a little dry. When I want to eat food in one of those jars I heat the corn on the stove with water in the bottom of the pot and a lid on top to hold the steam. The steam tends to re hydrate the vegatables. I have not experemented with this very much because I did not like the results. Maybe I need to read the information on the forum OL mentioned. One time I did an experement where I had 1" of water in the bottom of the jars with corn. Again the corn was a little dehydrated but not too bad much better than no water at all.
Last edited by Gary350 on Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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The pressure should never be released like that when using a pressure canner. The super heated liquid will boil out 99% of the time. The weight or the pressure release shouldn't be taken off right after time is up. Just turn the heat off and let the pressure reduce slowly through the weighted gauge. When it stops moving, the pressure is normalized. If you rush this you're gonna lose your liquids inside your jars. You also risk pushing food particles past your seal or between your jar and seal... Which can cause spoilage. I have the original directions for my mirro pressure canner, and these are the directions for propped use of their pressure canner. It also says that only 2-3 inches of water is neccessary when pressure canning.

I love, love, LOVE both types of canning.

I too water can plain crushed tomatoes. I pour boiling water over them in the stopped up sink. Let em sit for a few minutes, drain em, spray them briefly with cool water.(Phill swears my hands are made from asbestos) I keep a pot on the left( I am right handed), and as I take the core out, the skins fall off easily and I then crush em over the pot with my left hand. Instant crushed tomatoes! I bring em to a boil, skim the skum and can. The whole process takes me about 2 hours, but I have 2 huge water canners that hold 7 quart jars or 20 pints when stacked,each, so that speeds things up a bit. I do add citric acid to them when I water can, but I wanna try Apple's technique with the red wine vinegar :()
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Gary
I understand your concern with the heating up of the vegetables in the jars. That is built into the cooking time under pressure in tested recipes. So, theoretically, if you put 212 degree vegetables into the jars and brought the pressure up quickly, you would have shorter times in the canner.

This is a great thread!

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All good stuff, you guy's are awesome. I'm learning a lot but still a little skeptical about doing this myself and having a safe product in the end. I'm sure it will be good.

To those that suggested I get the blue book I saw it a Lowe's the other day and almost bought it, I was in the process of buying a 100$ fan for work at the time, I was waiting for some more money to flow my way. They even have little spice bags for pickling.... well pickles which I would like to try as well.


P.S. not to throw this topic off topic. Let's say I don't have a ton of tomatoes to pick one lovely Sunday morning. But they have been coming in here and there, though not enough to go into a full canning adventure all at once. Can I blanch them and freeze them than once I have enough for it unthaw them than and go do a canning-alcoholic weekend?

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Clean them and throw them in the freezer. Don't blanch them. When you thaw them out the skins will slip right off.

Then you can go insane making salsa and stuff some weekend.

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Or:::
Hit some yard sales and find a dehydrator.
Or build yourself one, I found some great plans for homemade ones, online.
Think of the fancy dried tomato... sun tomatoes? You could dry them, then store them as is... or powder them, and use it to add to things that you want a bit of tomato flavor added to.

I freeze, can or dehydrate my produce. Sometimes in small quantities, I find the dehydrator works just as well. I love dehydrated apples, I dip them in lemonade (homemade) then dry them to chips, past the soft stage.. great snack.

And after you dehydrate, where do you store stuff? Well, mason jars work great! And they come in various sizes too!
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I think it's ultimately easier if you cut out the stem ends and any green core or shoulders before freezing.

For cooked strained tomatoes, last year, I used the food mill (based on Gary's advice, I think ). Mine came with three different hole size inserts -- medium to remove skin and some but not all seeds, large to remove skin but keep all the seeds (that turned out to be too much seeds IMHO), and small to remove the skin and all the seeds (but this takes FOREVER and clogs up -- In the end, I found it easier to go with MEDIUM holes for the food mill and run it through a strainer 2nd time for tomato juice (small mesh) and no seed tomato sauce (medium mesh)).

LindsayArthurRTR
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OL! I'm SO glad you said this because it reminded me of my question for you :() I was gonna PM you but I figured there's gotta be someone else wondering about this out there...I pulled my old ronco food dehydrator out today. I have been getting about a gallon of mixed cherry, grape and yellow pears out of the garden every two days, and I think they have FINALLY started to die off. Anyway, I have about 2 gallons that I haven't given away and I really want to dry them and then store them. I am worried about them molding, though.

My plan is to cut them in half lengthwise and then put them in the dehydrator cut side up. I want them like sundried tomato texture . Kinda pliable. Is that safe for storage? It has been years since I used this thing...

I know I have to rotate the trays like every day or so. I'm not sure about the air vent...All the way open? Should I treat them with anything after I cut them?

Thanks!
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Ozark Lady
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You can do tomatoes in various ways.
If you don't mind seeds and skins, just wash them, cut them in half, and I put the cut side down in my dehydrator. I don't know if it matters based on brand? no idea. Or you can remove the skins, cores, and use a spoon to get out most of the seeds. If larger tomatoes slice them 1/2" thick. I do normally sprinkle on some salt. But that is all I don't add acid to them.

I start the tray on the bottom closest to the heat, and as I fill additional trays I move them up to put the new one on the bottom.
When all that I want to dry are in the dehydrator, I rotate the trays by simply moving the bottom tray to the top every couple hours. With mine I shut it off before I go to bed, I have slept and had it overdry. So in the morning I check them, move wettest to bottom, and dryer as I go to the top. I don't have a temperature gauge on mine, it is simply on or off.
I guess I am the gauge? If you have a meat thermometer, you can use it, you want to dry about 135 degrees. It should dry within 24 hours, but as long as it is decently hot, don't worry.

Dryness will determine how you store them... if you dry them to still fairly flexible, they are fairly wet, and you should bag them and freeze them. If you have a seal a meal, and can do airless bagging, all the better.

Or if you dry them to fairly dry, then you can oven them for a few minutes to extra dry the surface, and then cool them, and store in a jar... you do need to watch for condensation on the jar, if you see any, you need to dry them more, or freeze them. Again as airless as possible.

You can also dry them to the brittle stage, this works great for when you want to powder them, for instant tomato soup, or times when you have a recipe that calls for 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste. I put these in the smallest jars that I have usually a half pint, because you open and close it alot. Once I start using a jar, I keep it in the frig, because every time you open it, you let moisture in.

You can blend them just like a fruit leather, and add some flavorings and vegetables or not, your preference, and make them like a thick V-8 drink, then just pour them in your fruit leather inserts and dry them, until you can roll them up, be sure to check these after drying to make sure they won't mold from condensation or store in the freezer, you can still take them out and pack them for back packing etc. While hiking you can snack them as is, or put them in water to have a hot drink. With the leathers, just like the dry tomatoes, it is optional if you remove seeds and skins, but cores just have to go...

I hope this helps!
And happy preserving!

Oh, and coat your trays very lightly with just a drop of vegetable oil no matter what you are drying, or move the food around alot to prevent it sticking. I forgot to once, and the apples stuck on, was hours getting it off and they broke up badly... I had apple dust!

I close the airvent until it heats up, then I open it all the way, as long as the top tray stays hot, which it does, heat does rise, and you want airflow to get the moisture out.
Last edited by Ozark Lady on Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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LindsayArthurRTR
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OL here is a tasty use for plums. It uses up lots of them too.


[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=151129#151129[/url]

IMHO, These need to sit in their jars for a couple weeks before you use em. I gives the flavors time to mingle and mellow. It really good stuff though, especially on fish and grilled meats.

My mom is vegan, and she eats it on beans. I make a peach chutney almost just like it. will post that one later in the week. Thank you SO much for the dehydrator info.
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Gary350
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I bought this at a yard sale for $1. it works great for canning tomatoes. It has 3/16" hole that allows seeds, juice, and pulp to all the pass through. It is the best and fastest thing I have to remove the skins. This was part of a broken vegatable steamer I trashed the bottom and top parts and kept this piece. I put it in a pan then pour in the cooked tomatoes. Then I lift it out of the pan and I stir with a large spoon and every thing goes right through except the skin in about 10 seconds.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/s1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/s2.jpg[/img]

This screem wire basket is the best thing to remove seeds and skins. I have tried lots of things and this works best for seeds. Pour in the cooked tomatoes, stir with a large spoon and the juice and crushed pulp goes through in 30 seconds but not the seeds or skins. There are several special garden gizmos designed to remove seeds that work but they are very slow and expensive. I can show you pics of those gizmos if you like they may be for sale on ebay soon. My wife sometimes needs some juice with no seeds. I like juice with seeds and it makes some great tomatoe basil soup with about 1/4 tsp of red pepper.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h292/mikeweaver/s3.jpg[/img]

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engineeredgarden
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The only time I can anything with tomatoes in it is when I make salsa - which I made tonight.
Gary, do you add any vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice to your jars? The NCHFP website is adamant about doing this.....

EG

hit or miss
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We alway add lemon juice to the tomatoe juice we make, it's never even noticed. My salsa recipe has vinegar in it, I like the flavor it gives the salsa. The big reason to add acid to today's tomatoes is the newer varieties are much lower acid content than the old ones. I always wondered about heirloom tomatoes though, do they have a higher acid content?

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hit or miss wrote:We alway add lemon juice to the tomatoe juice we make, it's never even noticed. My salsa recipe has vinegar in it, I like the flavor it gives the salsa. The big reason to add acid to today's tomatoes is the newer varieties are much lower acid content than the old ones. I always wondered about heirloom tomatoes though, do they have a higher acid content?
Often, heirloom varieties are more acidic than modern hybrids, although to what extent I can't say and refuse to rely on. Regardless of the varieties I've canned or made products (e.g., spaghetti sauce) from for canning, I have always added lemon juice or citric acid powder to the tomatoes / sauce before canning them. We want acidity in hot-water canned products. This is what provides the safety margin for non-pressurized canning: acidity. Low pH.

On the subject of canning (and this is mostly for those new to the practice or wanting to try it out):

I learned from books. This means that you can learn from the web and from books, too. No one I knew canned or even knew anyone else who did when I was faced with a friend's tree absolutely laden with cherry-sized plums way back when.

Rule #1 of Canning: There is no such thing as "too safe" when home-canning foods.

Do not improvise your own cooking times or preparation methods. Do not take chances with the safety of your family or friends. If you can afford to purchase only one canner *and* can afford a pressure canner, do so. Both kinds of canning (hot-water bath and pressure canning) can be performed in a pressure canner; the reverse is not true. I got along with a hot-water canner (also referred to as a "baine Marie") for several years before I felt comfortable enough to look for a pressure canner, but the web wasn't around then, and printed info on pressure canning wasn't all that encouraging.

Now it's different; there is a TON of information, but not all of it is reliable. Unfortunately. Know your sources. The Ball Blue Book is excellent; the USDA extension nearest your home is also excellent.

I can tell you that I have experience, but I will also tell you that I am *not* experienced in canning at elevation or in canning meats. I have also not done much canning of quarts; most of what I've canned has been jelly-sized jars, 12-oz. jars, pints, and 1.5-pint jars. Each of these has a *different processing time* which is dependent on its size and on your elevation. Find out what that processing time is from a reliable source: again, the Ball Blue Book or the USDA.

Rule #2 of Canning: There is no such thing as "too clean" when home-canning foods.

Even after years of experience, I still demand almost hospital-like sterility from my jars, flat lids, and screw-on bands. I want my food hot hot hot when it goes into the jars, my water boiling, and my jars / flat lids sterile (or as sterile as I can get them). My own hands are clean clean clean. I do not touch my hair or my face while working with the jars. If I do, I wash my hands again before touching a jar.

If you have a dishwasher, you're golden: put the jars and the screw-on bands on a good, hot cycle as you're getting the food ready for canning. Turn the dishwasher on. The jars and screw-on bands will wait for you. Hand-wash, in soapy hot water, the flat lids. Yes, even if they *just* came brand-new out of the box. Rinse them well. Have a bowl or small pot into which you can lay them without them sticking to one another. I turn them alternately right-side-up and upside-down. Then pour boiling water over them. They will also wait for you.

Now your equipment is good and clean.

Prepare/cook the food, fill the jars per your recipe (head space varies, depending on what you're canning), and make very sure there are no particles of food on the rim of the jar. Place the flat lid on the rim of the jar and a screw-on band over the lid. When you have a rack of jars filled (usually 7 jars) *and* the water is boiling, place the jars into the water. There should be enough water to cover the jars by 1 inch when the water is boiling.

Rule #3 of Canning: Follow established procedures, and you will get it right the first time. :)

After the prescribed processing time has elapsed, use the "jar-lifter" and place each jar carefully onto a folded towel which has been set in place out of drafts. This is where the jars will cool, probably overnight. My best counter for this cooling is next to the stove but also next to the window, so I close the window *sigh* when the processing time is almost up. After all my work, I do not want a jar to crack.... :x

There's a nice "ping" sound when the lids invert. Count these pings; you'll know whether all the jars sealed or not. If any did not seal, those go into the refrigerator for eating in the near future; do not put them in long-term room-temp. storage.

And feel good about yourself! :D

Cynthia H.
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Ozark Lady
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I also learned from a book! I think it was the Blue Book.

The next morning, I look them all over. Any not down, are put in the frig or reprocessed. Then, I go get a metal spoon, and I tap each lid in the dead center, I want a clear ringing sound, not a thud. Any thud, goes into the frig or gets reprocessed.

If it is something that the texture won't be harmed by more cooking, I reprocess it, if it is something that can't take more cooking it is eat it or freeze it.
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Gary350
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engineeredgarden wrote:The only time I can anything with tomatoes in it is when I make salsa - which I made tonight.
Gary, do you add any vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice to your jars? The NCHFP website is adamant about doing this.....

EG
I never add vinegar, lemon or lime juice to my jars. If corn, beans and other things that have NO acid in them can be canned the tomatoes with low acid will do fine. I follow the instructions in my canning book. I have a few short cuts to speed up the job but I pretty much follow the rules in my canning book. My gook calls for 1/2 tsp of salt to pint and 1 tsp salt to quarts but I never do that my wife can not eat salt because of blood pressure problems and all salt does is make the vegatables hold their color. If you cook something that calls for less salt you can not remove it from the jars.

LindsayArthurRTR
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I never add vinegar, lemon or lime juice to my jars. If corn, beans and other things that have NO acid in them can be canned the tomatoes with low acid will do fine.
These foods cannot be waterbath canned. Corn, beans and mostly ALL other vegetables (if not pickled) MUST be pressure canned. I have not read a book produced in the last 20 years that suggests otherwise. It is very unsafe to process low acid foods without pressure canning. It is also highly suggested to add additional acidity to tomatoes when waterbath canning.

It's risky to process low acid foods this way. Your particular brand of tomatoes may be acidic enough for canning this way, but it's not the norm or suggested safe way to home can.

I agree totally and absolutely with everything that Cynthia said about home canning.
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applestar
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Re: Canning tomatoes in mason jars.

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2009 revision
https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publi ... _usda.html
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