“Am I doing this right?”

iStock_000015579694LargeCanning isn’t the fastest or easiest thing to do in the kitchen – and it’s important to go through all the steps, follow the rules and not poison the family. So it’s natural to wonder if there are any shortcuts or, like one of our Facebook friends wrote earlier this week, if everything is taking longer than it should.

It’s a valid question.

So here’s her inquiry and my response. It’s worth the time and the effort, believe me. There’s nothing like the fresh flavor of canned goodies in the middle of the winter.

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The Litmus Test for Tomato Acidity

3.08-Left-Inset-ImageThere are many varieties of tomatoes available for us to choose from – heirlooms to the newer hybrid varieties. Over the years, the acidity level of tomatoes has been researched, and data collected resulted in the United States Department of Agriculture issuing a statement in 1976 that certain varieties of tomatoes were considered low acid foods and that they must be processed as low acid foods. Since that time, recommendations are to add acid to all tomato products being processed at home.

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Canning tomatoes in 7 easy steps

Bushel of tomatoesTomatoes are red ripe and ready for picking, eating, and preserving!  Nothing compares to the taste of tomatoes from the vine whether you grow them or find them locally at the farmers’ markets.

If you want to can plain tomatoes, tomato juice, whole or diced tomatoes, you have another alternative.  We all think of tomatoes as being an acid food, however over the years, plant genetics have been altered to lower the acid tomato content which means we need to add acid to tomatoes when we can them.  This is not a new recommendation; it actually began in the 1980’s when USDA was doing research on safe home canning.

Here are some points for safe tomato canning:  Continue reading