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How to Preserve Summer Tomatoes Now in 2024

Preserving the vibrant taste of summer tomatoes allows you to enjoy their delicious flavor throughout the year.

This guide provides step-by-step instructions for blanching, peeling, and canning tomatoes, ensuring they retain their freshness and taste.

Follow these easy steps to savor the essence of summer in every meal, long after the season has passed.

Ingredients and Tools for Preserving Summer Tomatoes:

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Pot of water
  • Ice bath (large bowl of ice water)
  • Paring knife
  • Mason jars (pint or quart)
  • Salt
  • Citric acid or lemon juice
  • Wide-mouth funnel
  • Stainless steel straight spatula
  • Damp towel
  • Canning jar clamps or tongs
  • Canning racks
  • Labels for dating

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Summer Tomatoes
  1. Prepare Boiling Water and Ice Bath:
    • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
    • Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water.
  2. Wash and Score Tomatoes:
    • Wash and drain the tomatoes thoroughly.
    • Using a paring knife, score a shallow “X” in the bottom of each tomato.
  3. Blanch Tomatoes:
    • Carefully place the tomatoes in the pot of boiling water.
    • Blanch them for about 30 seconds, just until the skins start to soften and loosen.
    • Immediately transfer the blanched tomatoes to the ice bath to halt the cooking process.
  4. Peel and Seed Tomatoes:
    • Once cooled, use a paring knife to remove the peels, stems, and seeds from the tomatoes.
    • Reserve any tomato juices that accumulate during this process.
  5. Sterilize Mason Jars:
    • Sterilize the mason jars by boiling them in water or running them through a dishwasher cycle.
    • For pint jars, add ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon citric acid (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice).
    • For quart jars, add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon citric acid (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice).
  6. Fill Jars with Tomatoes:
    • Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill the jars with the prepared tomatoes and any reserved juices.
    • Leave a ½ inch of headspace at the top of each jar to allow for expansion during heating.
  7. Remove Air Bubbles:
    • Use a stainless steel straight spatula to carefully remove any air bubbles by running it around the inside edges of the jars.
    • Lift and move the spatula gently to avoid running it along the sides.
  8. Clean Jar Rims:
    • Wipe the jar rims with a damp towel to remove any seeds or bits of flesh that could prevent the seals from forming.
  9. Seal Jars:
    • Place the sterilized tops and screw-on ring bands onto the jars until they are snug but not overly tight.
    • Press the lids gently to ensure no air is trapped inside.
  10. Prepare Canning Pot:
    • Prepare a large pot with canning racks and add about three inches of simmering water.
    • Using tongs or canning jar clamps, place the jars on the raised rack in the pot, ensuring they are spaced about an inch apart and not touching the sides.
  11. Process Jars:
    • Add boiling water to cover the jars, if needed, and cover the pot.
    • Bring water to a rolling boil, then reduce to a gentle but steady boil.
    • Process the jars for 40 minutes for pints or 45 minutes for quarts, ensuring they remain covered with water throughout.
  12. Cool and Seal Jars:
    • Turn off the heat and let the jars sit for about 5 minutes before removing them.
    • Place the jars upright on a dry towel or cooling rack, leaving at least an inch of space between them.
    • Allow the jars to cool for 24 hours, listening for the lids to ping as they vacuum seal.
    • After several hours, check that each lid is concave. If the lid pops back, it is not sealed and will need to be reprocessed.
  13. Store and Label Jars:
    • Once sealed, label the jars with the canning dates.
    • Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
    • After opening, refrigerate the tomatoes and use them within one week.
Summer Tomatoes
Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

Following these steps will help you preserve the vibrant taste of summer tomatoes, allowing you to enjoy their delicious flavor throughout the year.

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