Remember this picture that was posted in July?
Well here is what we have been blessed with all summer long!
And this is only a fraction of the abundance of tomatoes that we have received from 4 plants!!! I love tomatoes, but enough is enough. I could not bear to see these go to waste, so I decided to try my hand at canning tomato juice. Luckily my husband Murray and I helped his mother can numerous vegetables many years ago, so we weren’t complete novices but this was our first attempt on our own without the experience and expertise of Vera guiding us. Here is what you need: lots of tomatoes, a bottle of lemon juice, and canning utensils – canner, jars, lids, and rings. That’s it!!
Step 1: Jars, lids, and strainer washed and ready to go. Jars must be heated for 10 minutes before filling to help prevent jar breakage. Submerge jars in enough water to cover. Bring water to a simmer (180°F), keeping jars in simmering water in a saucepan on the stove or in a slow cooker until ready for use. Or you can use the dishwasher to heat the jars by running them through a regular cycle and keeping the jars in the dishwasher until ready to be filled. I like to use a saucepan on the stove. You will also need to heat canning lids with sealing compound (like the ones I have pictured above) for 10 minutes before using to help the lids achieve a vacuum seal. As with the jars, simmer in a saucepan or slow cooker at 180°F. Note that overheating the lids by boiling can cause seal failure, so make sure the water stays at a simmer.
My trusty ball canner in position on the stove.
Step 2: After removing the stems and washing all tomatoes very thoroughly, cut off each end, remove the core, and slice into quarters.
You do not have to remove the peel.
Step 3: Simmer quarters in a large pan until soft. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent sticking.
Step 4: When tomatoes are soft and the skin is starting to peel off, juice tomatoes in either a food processor or a food mill. I used the food mill that Vera used many years ago and it worked perfectly.
Step 5: Strain juice to remove peels and seeds.
Step 6: Pour the juice into a large pot and heat for 5 minutes at 190°F. Do not boil.
Step 7: Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar or 2 tablespoons bottle lemon juice to each quart jar. I used quart jars. Ladle hot juice into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
And here is the finished product!!!
I can’t tell you how good the tomatoes smelled as they were simmering. And I conveniently had some juice left over for a taste test. Delicious! I am already picturing and almost tasting how delicious this juice will be in making chili or spaghetti sauce this winter. Yum, Yum!!!!
To me, canning and freezing vegetables is very rewarding. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I look at the jars of tomato juice, jelly, and packages of frozen sweet corn and peaches. It does take time, planning, and organization but it is so worth it. Next week Murray and I will be working on sweet corn. Stay tuned!!
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,