Perfectly ripe tomatoes are so flavorful they can be eaten out of hand with just a pinch of salt. But they’re seasonal, so canning allows you to have good-quality tomatoes available year-round. Use these canned tomatoes in our Basic Tomato Sauce, Eggplant-Pepper Tomato Sauce, or anytime you feel the urge for something tomatoey.
We’re assuming you already have basic tools lying around (like cutting boards, bowls, and measuring cups), so here’s the special equipment you’ll need for canning:
What to buy: Bottled lemon juice may sound counterintuitive, but it helps ensure a uniform acidity level, which is vital to proper canning.
General canning tips: Before you turn on the heat, be sure to do the following: Read the recipe through, gather all the necessary equipment, and check that you have the right amount of each ingredient on hand.
Give all your equipment a once-over: Examine your canning jars for nicks, cracks, uneven rims, or sharp edges that may prevent sealing or cause breakage; check that the lids have no dents and that the sealing compound is even and complete; and check that the bands fit properly.
Finally, have your jars, lids, and bands already sanitized before you start, and prepare only enough for one canner load at a time.
Tomato-specific tips: Select fresh tomatoes at their peak and use firm, uniform-size produce free of any cracks, spots, or growths.
The processed tomatoes may float if air gets trapped in them prior to processing. To minimize this, concentrate on getting air out of the fruit when you push on it with the rubber spatula. However, if floating occurs, don’t despair: The tomatoes will settle over time, and they will be good for up to a year if they’re stored properly in a cool, dry, dark place.
This recipe was featured as part of our canning story.
This recipe was featured as part of our Tomatoes! photo gallery.
For the tomatoes:
For processing the packed jars: