Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Or you can look at the Ball canning instructions, which are a little shorter and simpler. http://www.freshpreserving.com/pages/all_recipes/215.php?recipe=148&recipID=192&catID=
Canner (borrow one if you don't have one) and rack. You can use any big old pot as long you have some kind of a rack that will keep jars off the bottom and there is enough room for 2 inches of water above the jars as well as another 2 inches for space for the water to boil up.
Canning funnel, jar lifter, canning jars (you can use pint or quart), lids, rings, paring knife, measuring spoons, cutting board, pot for boiling water for blanching tomatoes (to skin them), slotted spoon or strainer to lift hot tomatoes out of blanching water, four bowls - one for hot tomatoes pre-peeling, one for peeled tomatoes and one for peels and cores, a sauce pan for holding rings and lids in hot water, dish cloth and towels for wiping up, citric acid, salt(optional)
3. Wash jars, lids and rings well in hot soapy water. Rinse well. I turn jars upside down on a clean towel until I am ready to fill them. Hold rings and lids in simmering - not boiling - water.
4. Fill canner about half full with warm water and start heating. (You may need to add more hot water later - Once the jars are lowered into the canner there needs to be about 2 inches of water above the tops.)
6. Add 1/2 t. citric acid to each quart jar and salt if desired - 1/2 to 1 t. per quart. If you are using pints, reduce salt and citric acid by half. You can substitute 2 T. bottled lemon juice per quart of tomatoes for the citric acid. The citric acid/lemon juice is important. A water bath canning process is safe only with high acid foods. This guarantees that the acid level will be high enough and your tomatoes will be safe to eat. The salt is for taste - not for preservation or safety.
9. When water comes to a full rolling boil, start counting processing time. Boil gently and steadily for the time recommended - which in the case of raw pack tomatoes is 85 minutes for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. I think most of Minnesota is in this category. Minneapolis is 837 feet. (Note - altitude matters. Canning guides will tell you what time to use for your altitude. )
Note on processing time. I have been canning raw pack tomatoes for a long time and have never processed them for more than 45 minutes. I must have missed the big news when the canning gods decided to change it to 85 minutes. I will change my ways but I am looking forward to finding out why this recommendation changed so much.
10. Carefully remove jars from the canner with a jar lifter. (if you have a rack that "hooks" onto the canner - lift that up first) Place jars on a dry folded towel or other surface that is not cold. (the jars might break) Cool, untouched, away from drafts. If you hear little popping sounds, smile. That is just the lids sealing.
11. Next day. Test each jar for sealing. Put your finger on the middle of the lid and press. It should not move up and down - it should stay in a slightly concave state. Remove rings. Wipe down the jars with a damp cloth. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. If a jar doesn't seal, refrigerate and use it up. Or freeze it or recan it (repeat the whole process).