Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Food: Canning Tomato Juice Tutorial

Opal, Missy, and I went to Mom and Dad's house today to can tomato juice. Missy's friend had picked up 3 big boxes of tomatoes for her in Tennessee. Most of the tomatoes in one box weren't ripe enough to can, so we only ended up canning two boxes. Still, we ended up with 21 quarts of tomato juice.

The amount of juice you make totally depends on how much you use tomato juice. Do you make a lot of your own sauces, soups, chili, etc? 

So here we go..

{Mom's been making this for at least 50 years so I am pretty sure it won't}

Mom doesn't follow exactly what the USDA suggests, but like I said, she has been canning many years. So I will share their recommendations as well as her way. You make your own decision on how to do things.
Wash, wash, wash those jars...
 Be sure to sterilize them.
There are several methods... you can sterilize them by running them through your dishwasher I've heard or by boiling them in a canner.  Someone even suggested heating them in the oven at 250. However, using the dishwasher would probably be the quickest and easiest. Keep them on heated dry until ready to use them.
To process the lids and clean the rings, put them in hot water (not boiling), and let them sit for at least 5 minutes.
Now to prepare your tomatoes... First, make sure your tomatoes are ripe and wash those babies real good. (You don't want any green on them at all.)

Then, you will want to cut off the top (stem) and bottom. Cut into 1/4's.
Cut out the hearts (white part) and any spots on the tomatoes.
Put them into a blender.
Pour the pureed tomatoes into a Foley food mill. 
Turn, Turn, Turn. This will separate any skin or seeds from the juice.
Your juice will look more like watermelon juice than tomato juice.
Your seeds and skins should pretty much be a paste by the time you get all the juice out of them.
Now you want to sprinkle in some salt (she doesn't measure) and boil for 20-25 minutes.
Stir often!
Mom covers her cookers while it boils. Be careful and don't let it boil over, because it will.
Now, your tomato juice will look like tomato juice instead of watermelon juice. Mom says it is because it boils out the green.

You are ready to put your juice into your jars.

Ball Canning suggests:
ADD ½ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot quart jar, ¼ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot pint jar. 

Tomatoes have a pH (acid) level that is just above the line dividing high-acid foods and low-acid foods. It is important for the safety and quality of tomato recipes that the proper acid level is maintained. Since many factors can decrease the natural acidity in tomatoes, the addition of bottled lemon juice or citric acid helps ensure the correct acidification. Bottled lemon juice must be used because its acid level is consistent, unlike fresh lemons.
Recipes that include an adequate amount of vinegar (5% acidity) do not require additional acidification, such as salsa, tomato chutney, and pickled tomatoes.
Always follow a tested recipe. Do not alter the type of ingredients in the recipe or the amount used. 

Mom does not add the Citric Acid or Lemon Juice, but use your own judgement about that. I'd advise it.

Please be careful. It is very HOT! Mom uses a jar funnel and a water dipper. 
Wipe off the rip, add your lid and ring. Tighten. There ya go. Done! 
Once they have sealed, just store your jars in a cool and dry place. She puts hers in her underground basement where there are no windows.

Once you have your lids and rings on, instead of going ahead and storing them,

Ball suggests that you:
PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


I'm sharing this post at Farmgirl Friday!

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