Canning Tomatoes & Tomatoe Sauces & Ketchup

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    All my life, I’ve heard that you can safely can tomatoes using the water-bath method because they are high-acid. A pH value of 1 to 4.6 are considered ‘high acid,’ those with a pH value between 4.6 and 7.0 are considered ‘low acid’ foods. The acid level determines if the bacteria Clostridium botulinum can grow and produce deadly Botulism.

    But when yellow tomatoes became popular, there were a few warnings that you should use pressure canning because they were low-acid.

    Now my planted-late tomatoes (red, yellow, orange, black) are coming on and I checked to find out if some needed pressure canning.

    And I discovered that tomatoes, like so many other things, have gotten complicated.

    “Tomatoes for many years were considered high acid. However, tomatoes are fruits and, as such, the amount of acid in tomatoes varies dramatically over the growing season. The amount of acid in tomatoes is highest in unripe (green) fruit and reaching the lowest point as the fruit reaches maturity. The amount of acid, and other components like sugars, also varies in fruits based on the climate (the amount of heat/sun/rain), the soil, the variety, and other factors. Researchers now know that tomatoes are not consistently high in acid and current canning recommendations require that acid be added to all canned tomato products: add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes. For pints, use 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid. Acid can be added directly to the jars before filling the jars with product. Add sugar to offset acid taste, if desired. Four tablespoons of 5% -acidity vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. However, vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes. Acid is added to tomato products even if the tomatoes are pressure canned. Tested recipes have not been developed for canning tomatoes where the pH is above 4.6.

    “A recent study by the University of Illinois highlighted the variation in pH that can be seen in tomato varieties. In the study, 55 heirloom tomato cultivars were planted at the Saint Charles Horticulture Research Center. The growing season was characterized by an early warm period in May followed by cool temperatures and frequent periods of rain over the growing season. Tomato fruit was harvested and the pH level tested in all 55 varieties. The average pH of the fruit ranged from 4.18 to 4.92, with 15 of the varieties (27%) having a mature-fruit pH of 4.6 or higher [too high to be safe]. Higher-pH varieties included the popular Brandywine, Ace, Big Early Hybrid, Big Girl, Large Polish Paste, Rio Grande, and many others.

    “As you preserve the bounty of your garden, remember to always add acid to home-canned tomato products! And enjoy!!”

    This from the U of Wisconsin Food Safety Dept:

    This is backed up by the National Center for Home Food Preservation:

    You can take this or leave it. Those who have common sense and are adaptable to change may adopt it. Those who “have always done it the other way” may continue doing so without argument because I simply don’t care. 👿

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by ReadyMom.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by ReadyMom.

    So I came across a spaghetti recipe I thought I would share. It’s delicious. I love the fact that you can add all kinds of Garden goodies to it!

    I made this yesterday. In addition to the tomatoes, I added carrots, cellery, morel mushrooms (I reconsituted from dried I found and dried earlier this year), Green peppers, onions. Everything for this recipe came from my garden, except the brown sugar, canning salt and bay leaves.

    FYI: You do have to skin the tomatoes first by blanching them first. But I didn’t remove the seeds. And pressure can them once they are done.



    Because it was once called a food group by a POTUS, here’s the how to make of it all! 😀

    How to make ketchup

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