This morning after we picked some tomatoes I decided to share pictures on my Facebook page, in real time, of the process I use to can tomato sauce. It was fun and I enjoyed the comments I received. I thought those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook (Why don’t you? ) might like to see the pictures, too.
We started around 8:30 a.m. by picking some tomatoes. Our garden was really affected by the drought so our harvests haven’t been as plentiful. However, we are grateful for everything we have picked. I am hopeful the tomatoes will continue to bear until we get our first frost.
I have to say that Janna has improved this summer in her tomato picking. At first she only chose the green tomatoes and now she knows to choose the red ones.
We picked about 1/2 a bushel of tomatoes. I washed and cut them into pieces that would fit in my tomato strainer.
After running the tomatoes through the strainer I put the juice in a large roasting pan and placed it in the oven at 350 degrees. Four hours later the juice had reduced down by about half and was nice and thick.
By using the oven to cook the tomato juice I didn’t have to stand around stirring it all of the time. I only stirred the sauce two times during the process. If you have never tried it I highly recommend using the oven.
The final picture in the collage above shows my jars and lids simmering in a large pot of water. I didn’t boil them, but got the water quite hot to sterilize the jars and get the lids ready.
Here’s my big boy Joseph helping me juice the tomatoes. He was so excited to turn the crank on our new tomato strainer. (Long story about the tomato strainer which I will have to share some other time.)
While the jars were simmering I was also heating the water in my water bath canner. Once it was about to boil I removed the tomato sauce from the oven and ladled it into the hot jars.
Then I wiped the rims of the jars with a paper towel, placed a lid on top, and tightened on a ring. I stopped turning the ring when I started to feel resistance.
Seven pint jars went into the canner and I shut the lid. Once the water was boiling I set a timer for 35 minutes (40 minutes for quarts).
When the timer went off I took the jars out of the canner and placed them on a towel to cool. The lids all started pinging, so I knew they all sealed. Yay!
This whole process took right about 7 hours from picking the tomatoes to the jars being taken out of the canner. That seems like a long time, but for most of that time I wasn’t doing anything but waiting.
I thoroughly enjoy the process of canning and feel it is worth the time and effort it takes. There is nothing quite like growing your own organic produce and preserving it for the months ahead.
Have you been canning any tomatoes this summer?
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