What’s not to love about the idea of stocking your pantry with homegrown, home-canned tomatoes? Well, botulism, for starters! In addition to being one of the most widely home-canned products, tomatoes are also one of the most widely spoiled home-canned products. Follow The Happy Kitchen’s steps for safe water-bath canning and you’ll be enjoying your summer tomato harvest throughout the year:
- Select only disease-free, ripe tomatoes and can within 3 hours of harvest; do not can soft, overripe, moldy or decayed tomatoes.
- Ensure safe acidity by adding lemon juice or citric acid; add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes.
- Process carefully; pay special attention to instructions for how to pack (hot or raw) and processing times.
- Prepare your jars and lids; do not use any with cracks, chips, dents or rust. Wash jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well before using. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.
- Allow jars to cool for 12 to 24 hours and test seals before storing. To test the seal, look at the lid. The center should be slightly concave and it shouldn’t move when you handle it. To store: remove bands, label and keep in a cool, dark, low-moisture place.