We eat what we can, and what we can’t, we can. At least when it comes to tomatoes. The unique, height-of-summer lushness of ripe tomatoes can’t quite be duplicated in a glass jar, but it’s probably as close as you can come in the middle of February.
I like to can tomatoes whole with salt and lemon juice because they can be processed in a boiling water bath. (Simply put, a large pot filled with boiling water in which sealed canning jars are boiled for a prescribed amount of time.) Canning pasta sauces and salsas usually requires a pressure canner; a USDA tested recipe is recommended.
There are, of course, dozens of websites and videos with instructions for canning tomatoes. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has an entire subsection on their website devoted to a thorough, if dry, discussion on the ins and outs of canning tomatoes. One of my favorite home preservation websites is PickYourOwn.org which gives easy to follow step-by-step instructions with accompanying photos. Surfing through the various videos and websites brings up some conflicting information, but the basics are simple. Sterilize jars and lids; peel the tomatoes after blanching briefly in boiling water; pack tomatoes in jars with added lemon juice, and salt if desired; fill jars with boiling water and seal; and process in boiling water bath for the allotted time.
We’d love to see how you preserve your tomatoes – post photos of your home canning or other methods on the facebook page.