Monday, September 26, 2011

Totally Tomatoes!!!

Ripe tomatoes are finally here.  I made salsa and canned tomatoes this past week.  I was able to make 20 pints of salsa using only ingredients from my garden - onions, peppers, and tomatoes.  The salsa turned out great!

This is an example of "don't do what I did".  I canned the last bit of salsa into quart jars.  I've actually canned salsa into quart jars for years not knowing that it is a "no-no".

Here is the salsa recipe that I used:

Chili Salsa (Hot Tomato - Pepper Sauce)

Now that we have enough salsa for the next year, all future tomatoes that we don't eat fresh will be canned.  I use a quart of canned tomatoes in spaghetti sauces, chili, and pretty much any recipe where you would use canned tomatoes.  Here are instruction on how to can tomatoes.

Start with tomatoes.  Like those burgundy/green tomatoes?  Those are an heirloom variety called Cherokee Purple.  They taste great!  And look cool...

I pressure canned these tomatoes.  You can also process them using a water bath.  The processing time is longer and I was in a hurry this day.

The most annoying part about pressure canning (in my opinion) is having to watch the pressure gauge constantly to make sure it is right where it is supposed to be.  I have to adjust my burner heat up and down a little to keep the needle where it needs to be.  I forgot how much I dislike standing and watching to make sure the needle stays at 12 pounds of pressure.  I will be water bath processing future batches.  It takes longer, but I can at least clean my kitchen while I wait.

But, in the end when I add all the jars of tomatoes and salsa to my basement storage, it is all worth the time and effort.

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