From Whole tomatoes to juice and sauces, tomatoes are among the most popular and versatile of home canned foods. Preserving tomatoes at home opens a treasure chest of possibilites for delicious and nutritious meals prepared with the very best ingredients Mother Nature has to offer.
Home Growing Tomatoes
We plant our tomato plants around mid spring and nurture them from seedlings. Anyone can start a few tomato plants inside your home and transplant them once the garden weather arrives.
Below are a few of our Mom's tomato plants. I say a few because I think she had over 100 tomato plants this year. She always gives several away so the neighbors can enjoy them as well... :)
Choosing Tomatoes for Home Canning
Select tomatoes that are disease free, uniformly colored , firm but not too hard, and heavy for their size. Vine-ripened tomatoes will have the most flavorful results. Tomatoes should also have a good fragrance and be free of bruises, cracks and discoloration. Do not use tomatoes from vines that have been subjected to frost. Because their natural acidity is lower, frost touched tomatoes will not produce the required degree of acid. They can be used for cooking or freezing, but not for home canning.
When preparing tomatoes, it is particularly important to use only stainless steel saucepans and utensils. The acid in tomatoes can react with aluminum, copper, brass, galvanized or iron equipment, creating bitter flavors and undersirable colors. Avoid wooden utensils, as they can absorb flavor and colors and carry them to other foods.