Remember those tomatoes I was talking about? 50 pounds of them? Yeah, they are all peeled, seeded, diced, and canned into 17 quart jars. I’ll be enjoying these bad boys in soups, stews, and sauces for the year to come. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my amazing mama. It is a lot of work, but so totally worth it to me to be able to enjoy BPA free canned tomatoes. Yay!
In case you want to know how to can diced tomatoes, here’s a brief how-to.
First you skin the tomatoes. You do this by placing them in boiling water for about 45 second. Plunge them into an ice bath, and the skins come right off!
Then it’s time to seed the tomatoes. Slice them in half (horizontally) and stick your finger into each of the chambers—all the seed will come gushing out.
Now it’s time to dice your tomatoes. Put them into a large pot and heat them thoroughly on the stove. While they’re heating up, bring the water in your water-bath canner to a boil. You also want to heat the lids and jars. I was able to use hot water from my sink because it’s get REALLY hot, if yours doesn’t, just run everything through the dishwasher. The key to successful canning is having every component be VERY hot at the time the food goes into the jar.
Don’t forget to pose for some pictures! This pose actually wasn’t planned.
I’m really just holding my knife behind my mom’s hand, not pretending to chop the tomato while she holds it.
Folks, don’t try that at home!
I didn’t get a picture of the filling the jars part, but basically you just fill the jars with tomatoes and some of the juices that have accumulated. Leave about an inch space at the top, wipe the mouth clean, put the lids on loosely, and then everything goes into the boiling water bath. They need to boil for about 45 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath, let them sit over night so they can cool. After about 24 hours the lids should be airtight and sealed. Use the tomatoes over the next year in all your favorite recipes!
Now that I’m an experienced canner, I decided to try canning some apple pie filling. We came home with about 50 pounds of apples after our apple picking excursion, and I just want to spread the goodness over the year to come. Last year I made apple pies and froze them, but didn’t really like the texture of the pie crust after it’s long stint in the deep freeze. So, canning apple pie filling was the answer! I’ve got 13 quart jars of apple pie filling, just waiting for the day they’ll see a pie crust and make their way into the oven. Here is the recipe I used. I had just enough apple pie filling leftover after the canning to whip up a fresh pie–yummy!
Here’s what you’ve got to do to can apple pie filling:
Peel, core, and slice your apples. You want them to be about 1/4 inch thick.
To prevent excessive browning, place them in water with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice.
After you’ve sliced your apples, you can make the pie filling while the water bath comes to a boil.
The filling just needs to come to a boil, then thicken to a nice consistency.
Stuff as many apple slices into hot jars. Really squeeze those guys in there. Then pour the hot filling over the apple slices (notice my handy-dandy wide mouth funnel? Makes the job so much easier!). You’ll need to use a plastic knife to get the filling down in there. It takes some time, but it’s worth it. Leave about 1/2 inch space, clean the mouth, add the lid, and into the canner it goes! Boil for 20 minutes.
The filling will last for 18 months – 2 years. Not that they’ll be around for that long!
I still have a few more things I’d like to can this year, before the season is over. I made apple butter and strawberry jam last year, but froze everything instead of canning. My freezer got very full and I would often forget what I had once it got buried underneath other food items. So, this year, I’d like to can any jams or jellies I make. I just found a recipe for Apple-Blueberry Jam which is definitely on my list. Probably more strawberry jelly too.
Any canning going on in your lives? If anyone wants to learn to can, I’m ready and willing to teach and loan out my equipment. It’s so much fun!