There were eight pounds of cherry tomatoes hanging around my counter, meaning it was time to start preserving the bounty.
Last year I froze the tomatoes, but this year I wanted to try canning.
Here’s What I Learned
- Canning is basic, easy, and versatile.
- Canning is a precise science. Deviating from a tested recipe and procedure can lead to an unsafe product. Botulism is not cool.
- If you can follow directions, you can can.
- Canning takes time. Be prepared to dedicate your day.
- Buy a real canning rack!
- Canning makes me feel accomplished, and little like a down-home country girl.
I decided to can whole tomatoes. Since I’m overrun with cherry tomatoes, I had no choice but to do the tedious work of blanching and skinning each one. I imagine it’s more repetitive and time-consuming than with large tomatoes.
Since this was an experiment and a small batch, I wanted to keep my investment low. Rather than buy a full canning kit, I used my own stock pot, plus an improvised rack for the bottom of the pot (a metal steamer basket). The only items I bought were the wide-mouth jars and a jar lifter. This time of year, canning products are everywhere; I buy mine at Agway.
Things would probably have been faster and smoother if I had a rack to lower and lift the jars from the water bath, rather than balancing everything on a metal steamer in the bottom of the pot and picking the jars out one-by-one.
Finally, at 1 a.m. I pulled out six lovely pints, each with well-sealed lids. Yay!