Tag Archives: ripe

How to Can Fresh Tomatoes

22 Sep
Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Basically you need about every large bowl, pot, and pan in your house, and lots of water. Oh and lemon juice and canning jars. And time. That’s about it, really!

Canning your own tomatoes is not a secret, there is no hidden method, and the directions are readily available on about 700,000 websites, according to Google. But, since my husband and I spent several hours at this yesterday (in between me being on conference calls for work) I thought I would share what we did.

How to Can Fresh Tomatoes

10 pounds fresh-picked tomatoes, give or take
6 or 7 pint canning jars and lids
1 tablespoon lemon juice per jar
Salt or sugar (optional)

First get a really large pot of water on to boil and add the jars (without lids) to it. I have a 15-quart canning pot that we used. Also put on another largish pot of water to boil to blanch the tomatoes. Next, get a full tea kettle of water on to boil, or another pot of water if you don’t have one.

Meanwhile, prep the tomatoes by washing and coring them, cutting off bad spots, and making an X-slit in the bottom to assist with peeling the skins.  Once the blanching water is boiling, dunk the tomatoes in the pot for 30 to 60 seconds until the skins just start to peel on their own. Oh yeah, have a large bowl of ice water ready. Remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge into the ice water.

Fresh-Picked Tomatoes

Fresh-Picked Tomatoes

Once the pot with the jars in it has boiled for at least 10 minutes, remove the jars and add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each one. Do not use fresh lemon juice as the acidity level of it cannot be relied on. You may add about a teaspoon of salt and/or sugar at this point for extra taste, but we did not do that and left them plain. Next get another bowl and add the lids and the seals and cover with the boiling water from the tea kettle to sterilize them. Then fill the tea kettle back up again, as you’ll need more boiling water later.

Now begin peeling the skins from the tomatoes and adding them to the jars, filling them up leaving a half-inch head space. You can cut or quarter any of the larger tomatoes. Once you have a full jar, pour the boiling water from the tea kettle up to the half-inch head space. At this point it is recommended to run a spatula around the edge of the jars to remove air bubbles, but I forgot that step. Some of the jars we didn’t pack as tight as the others, and that became evident after the canning process.

Oh, and you should bring the canning pot of water back up to a boil at this point. After all the jars are filled (we ended up with 7 jars), carefully wipe the rims with a wet paper towel to remove any tomato specks and juice. Add the lid seals and lids, and tighten hand-tight. Do not over tighten.  Using canning tongs or some other method, carefully add the jars to the boiling water bath. Make sure there is at least one inch of water over the tops of the jars. Once the water comes back up to a full roiling boil, keep the water boiling for at least 45 minutes for 0 to 3,000 feet altitude, 50 minutes for 3,001 to 6000 feet, and 55 minutes over 6,000 feet.

Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Remove the jars from the water and set on a thick towel to cool. You will hear the lids “pop” once the complete seal has taken place. If any of the jars do not seal completely, you must re-do the process or use them within the week. And there you have it! Canned fresh tomatoes ready for your soups, stews, and pasta sauces over the winter.

p.s. We didn’t have enough jars to can all the cherry tomatoes, and we froze the rest of those. (Thank you Laura for the tip!) Well that was certainly easier than the canning, but the satisfaction of a day in the kitchen canning your own produce can’t be beat!

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Tomatoes

10 Jul
Artichoke and Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Tomatoes

The first of our cherry tomatoes have ripened on one of our plants! I do believe this is a record for us, to have some ripe tomatoes in early July. So I was flying solo last night (hubby is out of town overnight and the daughter left for a four day camping trip too) so I decided to whip up something “just for me” using three of our ripe wee tomatoes, plus one organic tomato hanging out on the counter.

Ripe Cherry Tomatoes

Ripe Cherry Tomatoes

I scrummaged through the fridge and pantry to see what I could concoct out of these beauties. I found a lonely Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Cheese wedge, a bag of spinach I brought on our camping trip last week and in dire need of using up, a half lemon, and a can of quartered artichoke hearts. OK. So it’s only me. I can do this. I will use part of the spinach and open a can for one artichoke heart quarter, but I promised myself I’ll make something out of the rest when the fam gets home.

Tomatoes Spinach and Artichokes, et. al.

Tomatoes, Spinach, and Artichokes, et. al.

I seriously just made this up on the fly. I’d briefly googled some recipes with a few of the ingredients, but nothing really popped out at me so decided just to throw some stuff together and see what happened. I ended up using twice the amount of spinach in my photo, as I still haven’t mastered the art of how much fresh spinach reduces but I have the correct amount below for one serving.  Since this is only a recipe for one, feel free to double, triple, or quadruple the amount! Oh, and yes, this was divine. Very decadent, just the right amount of spice, herbs and all over yumminess. I so enjoyed popping those stuffed cherry tomatoes just out of the oven into my mouth with the creamy spinach filling. I can’t wait until we have more tomatoes for more great recipes!

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Tomatoes

1 small tomato plus three cherry tomatoes
Spray or splash of olive oil
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 artichoke heart, chopped small
1 wedge Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese (you can sub with some cream cheese with fresh herbs mixed in)
1 lemon wedge, squeezed
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 wee pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Shredded Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese for topping
Bed of fresh spinach

Cut off a small slice off the top of the tomatoes, then core them. So what did I do with the centers and seeds? I ATE them! I simply could not throw out the centers of my first cherry tomatoes and a lovely organic one. Yumm. Nothing wrong with eating the centers of tomatoes, I can tell you that.

In a skillet over medium heat, spray some olive oil and add the spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, lemon juice, sour cream, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir around and smoosh around until spinach is wilted and cheeses have melted. The sour cream was a last minute addition as the one small wedge of cream cheese just didn’t cut it. Remove from heat, then stuff the cored tomatoes. Eat any amount that doesn’t fit in the centers, OK? Now top the tomatoes with shredded Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese. I was out of Parmesan and would have preferred that but the Mozzarella was a good sub.

Place the tomatoes in a foil lined pan under the broiler for about  five minutes until the cheese starts to melt and brown. Remove from pan with tongs and serve over a bed of fresh spinach. Chow time!

Cored Tomato and Juices

Cored Tomato and Juices ~ Eat all the centers of them!

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