Canned tomatoes are a pantry staple for many home cooks around the world. Whether you are making a classic spaghetti sauce or a hearty chili, canned tomatoes can be the perfect addition to any recipe. They are versatile and easy-to-use ingredients that can save you time and effort in the kitchen. In this article, we will share with you our story of making canned tomatoes and provide you with a simple recipe to make them at home.
Growing up, my grandmother would always have a stash of canned tomatoes in her pantry. She would use them to make her famous spaghetti sauce, which was a family favorite. When I moved out on my own, I realized just how expensive canned tomatoes can be. So, I decided to try my hand at making them at home. It was surprisingly easy, and the results were delicious.
- 10-12 ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of citric acid (optional)
How to make canned tomatoes:
- Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems.
- Cut an "X" on the bottom of each tomato.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the tomatoes for 30-60 seconds.
- Immediately transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Peel the skin off the tomatoes and discard.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds.
- In a separate pot, combine the lemon juice, salt, sugar, and citric acid (if using).
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the tomato quarters to the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Pack the tomatoes and their juice into sterilized jars, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
- Use a clean towel to wipe the rims of the jars and add the lids.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes (adjust for altitude).
How to store canned tomatoes:
Once the jars have cooled, check to make sure the lids have sealed properly. You can do this by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it pops back up, the jar did not seal properly and should be refrigerated or frozen. Properly sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
How to refrigerate canned tomatoes:
If you have opened a jar of canned tomatoes and have some leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure to transfer them to an airtight container before refrigerating.
How to freeze canned tomatoes:
- If you have extra canned tomatoes that you won't use within a year, you can freeze them for later use.
- To freeze canned tomatoes, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
- Make sure to label the container with the date and contents.
- Frozen canned tomatoes can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Variations and Tips:
- You can add herbs like basil or oregano to the tomato mixture while simmering for added flavor.
- If you prefer a smoother texture, you can use an immersion blender to blend the tomato mixture before packing it into jars.
- For a spicier flavor, you can add chopped jalapeños or red pepper flakes to the tomato mixture.
- To prevent the jars from breaking during the canning process, make sure to use jars specifically made for canning and follow the instructions carefully.
How to use canned tomatoes:
- Canned tomatoes can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles.
- You can also use canned tomatoes as a base for homemade salsa or tomato sauce.
- When using canned tomatoes, make sure to drain off the excess juice before adding them to your recipe if you want a thicker consistency.
Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes in recipes?
Yes, canned tomatoes can be used as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in most recipes.
Do I have to add citric acid to my canned tomatoes?
No, you do not have to add citric acid to your canned tomatoes. However, it can help to ensure the acidity level is safe for canning.
How long do canned tomatoes last once they open?
Canned tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week once opened.
Canned tomatoes are a versatile and easy-to-use ingredient that can save you time and effort in the kitchen. Making them at home is a simple process that can help you save money and reduce waste. By following the recipe above, you can make your own canned tomatoes that will taste just as delicious as the store-bought variety.