My apologies for the long hiatus. We’ve been canning tomatoes. We went to the fair. We worked in the dirt. We butchered turkeys. And then I got sick with a lovely first-of-the-fall cold, which still hasn’t managed to go away yet.
Fortunately, the turkeys, dirt, fair, and tomatoes were all taken care of before the cold attacked.
At any rate, here’s a tutorial on canned diced tomatoes, complete with pictures.
First, ya gotta wash ’em. I like to do a wash bin, then two rinses.
Here’s my trifecta of washing solution additions, for maximum dirt-and-bacteria removal:
Roughly 1/2 c. white vinegar, a squirt of dishsoap (1/2 T.?) and about 15 drops grapefruit seed extract. It seems to do the trick.
Then, remove stem ends and chop.
Two ladies chopping can just about keep up with one lady filling jars, if there’s one more person manning canners.
First, fill the jars till about 1/2″ from the rim with tomatoes. Then add any juice that’s accumulated in the bowl, or water, to the same level.
Stir gently with a plastic knife to get all the air bubbles out. Around here, we call it “burping the jars”. I’m sure that passersby wonder occasionally at the matrons on the porch when one of us calls to another, “Have you burped yet?”
Next, wipe the rim of the jar to make sure it is absolutely clean. Dirty rims won’t seal properly. I call this “rimming”, ’cause I’m clever that way.
I generally have my lids waiting in hot water. The manufacturer says you don’t have to boil lids anymore, and I don’t. But I like to think that giving them a rinse takes off any already outgassed plastics from the manufacturing process, and it definitely rinses off any dust right before they go on the jar.
That magnetic want thingy is called a “lid lifter”. They’re great.
After the lids and rings are put on, we water-bath the pints for 40 minutes and quarts for 45 minutes. Jars must be fully submerged by at least an inch. I generally start them in cold water, and let the whole shebang come to a boil; I lose fewer jars to cracking that way. The timer starts when the water boils.
You’ll notice I didn’t add lemon juice. Tomatoes are considered borderline for acidity when it comes to water bath canning, so I test their acidity every year with a pH tester. At present I have a Hanna tester, but it’s starting to have issues. I’m thinking of investing in a Milwaukee or Oakton next year. At any rate, if you aren’t sure about your tomatoes’ pH levels, add lemon juice.
Diced tomatoes, put up for the winter!