Tomato Frenzy: Canning, Canning, Canning!

This has been a very hectic summer. First, we went to Newport Beach then to Avocado Country and La Jolla. Then, the boys’ swim meets, water polo and basketball games. Last weekend we went to Hollywood to see Gustavo Dudamel. And now, all our tomatoes are getting ripe at the same time!

A few days ago we harvested 37 pounds! So far, our crop is getting close to 110 pounds and all our 18 varieties are full with the most beautiful tomatoes!
A confessed tomato snob, in the middle of this tomato frenzy I have no time but to think about processing and cooking to get the best of our crop. So this post is about canning tomatoes, which is heat imposed protection to keep them in glass jars.
By canning raw tomatoes we keep their garden-fresh color and flavor up to one year.
Before canning, tomatoes should be prepared: cleaned, cored and peeled. Once the tomatoes are ready, place them in an sterilized jar, add some fresh lime juice (two tablespoons per 1 quart jar), salt to taste and add your favorite herb. Here I used fresh basil, but rosemary, thyme or oregano work well too.
While packing the jars, lightly press the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to squeeze the juice and release air bubbles. Make sure to leave ½ -inch headspace and that there is no food or juice in the headspace (food particles may interfere with sealing).
Cap the jars for processing by fitting a screw band snugly over the jar rim and lid. Fill a water bath canner halfway with water. Place the jars in the rack. Make sure the water covers the jars at least by 1 inch. Cover the canner and bring the water to boil. Once the water starts boiling, process, boiling for 40 minutes.
Place the processed jars on kitchen towels. Let them rest for 12 hours. The lids will pop and become concave, indicating the jars are sealed. If the lid doesn’t pop and doesn’t look concave, reprocess the jar with a new lid or refrigerate and eat in the next few days.
Canned tomatoes must be saved in a dark place. Once you do the job, you can enjoy them year round!


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