Seasonal Preserving Tips - Tomatoes and
a Note on Apples
I am watching my green cherry tomatoes as they ripen one by one, feeling slightly deprived because one is just not enough. We wait and wait or pay dearly for early local tomatoes until SUDDENLY, in late summer we have more ripe tomatoes than we know what to do with.
Now what? Get busy and can them whole or in pieces, dry them, or even freeze them. Just don’t waste those flavorful and nutritious tomatoes.
Do use tested recipes for canning tomatoes. They are lower in acid than other fruits and need added acid and a longer processing time to safely can at home. In Preserve classes we use the Crushed method described below. This method has been used by the Extension Service for years and consumers are happy with the end product. A quart jar requires about 3 pounds of fresh tomatoes.
Procedure: Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water slip off skins, and remove cores. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions and quarter (or cut into smaller pieces.) Heat one-sixth of the tomatoes quickly in a large pot, crushing them with a potato masher or spoon to get juices running. Continue heating the tomatoes, stirring to prevent burning. Once the tomatoes are boiling, gradually add remaining cut up tomatoes, stirring constantly These remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed. They will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added. Then boil gently 5 minutes. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars (1 TB per pint, 2 TB per quart).
Ladle hot tomatoes into clean, hot jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Remove bubbles and seal jars
Process in boiling water canner 35 for pints or 45 minutes for quarts.
The Ball Blue Book has illustrated instructions for canning whole tomatoes. The Oregon State University Extension Service has a tomato canning booklet for $1.00 (ask for PNW 300.)
Check Food Preservation Links for more information on canning tomatoes.
And About Those Apples….
Northwest green skinned Gravenstein apples are available now. They are tart and make great applesauce. Always refrigerate apples by the way, as they lose quality fast at room temperature.
For helpful information on apple varieties check the following website. Here is the entry on Gravenstein apples: Large, round to slightly flattened orangish yellow fruit with red stripes. Thin skin. Crisp, juicy, fine grained, yellowish white flesh. Known for fine flavor. Unexcelled for cooking. Makes wonderful pies, desserts, sauces, and cider.