Condo Blues: I'm Canning Tomatoes!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm Canning Tomatoes!

Our almost illegal but not quite tomato plants (read the story on Lazy Budget Chef. It involves a police helicopter AND a paddy wagon) exploded into a bunch of tomatoes. We definitely met our 2012 DIY goal of growing more than six tomatoes. Yay!
The results are delicious.

But more than we can eat right now.

Last summer, I faced my fear of canning (don’t laugh. It’s true) and canned strawberry peach jam with leftover fruit (our eyes were bigger than our stomachs) and raspberry Moscato jam. No one died of botulism AND we had a nice stash of impromptu Christmas gifts in the pantry. I call that I double win.

You can find the recipes on my food blog Lazy Budget Chef

The use what canning equipment I had on hand method worked well enough for me to consider buying a canning kit to make home canning easier. Fortunately, my mom passed her canning supplies down to me. I was off and running. Well, actually, it is more like trotting.

Thanks Mom!

I got my Ma Ingalls on later that summer by canning garlic dill pickles, spicy dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and pickle relish to deal with the cucumber garden explosion. I spent last August getting pickled at least once a week if not more. Hee!

I made those six tomatoes we grew into salsa and canned that too. Don’t be impressed by that one. I cheated and used a Ball canning mix for the salsa. I wanted to make sure I met last summer’s canning goal of Don’t Kill People With Botulism

The salsa is gone and Husband and I are still alive - whew.

Salsa was as close to canning a vegetable as I got (although technically tomatoes are fruit.) It seems most vegetables need a pressure canner. I’m not sure if there is a pressure canner in my future. I try to stay away from things that could potentially explode in my kitchen.

But man do I have a bunch of tomatoes to deal with and not enough freezer space to freeze tomatoes.

September’s One Small Green Change is to learn how to can tomatoes using the water bath method. Given the size of my garden, it looks like I will be doing extremely small batch canning – one or two jars at a time based on my ripening rate. I will have plenty of time to learn the process.

I tried canning my first two jars of tomatoes. I had one win – it sealed! I had one fail. The bottom of the jar cracked and tomatoes leaked into my stockpot. Epic canning fail. On the upside, my potted patio plants liked the tomato water. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Do you have any advice for me?

Even better, do you have any canning tomato sauce or other tomato canning recipes you can share?

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