Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How to... Oven Canned Tomatoes

I can't believe it's been 2 years since I told you about my basil jelly. And I've given you my mother-in-law's fresh salsa recipe... and I've hopefully given you a glimpse into my love of food and family!

Today, I want to share with you a tried and true, though NOT approved by the home extention office, NOR is this USDA approved, way to can tomatoes in the oven. As always, you are welcome to use the hot water bath method, as I have done in the past. This recipe comes to me from my Aunt Kay in Colorado and has been used my her... and her mother... and her mother.... you get the idea. Let's get to work, okay?

Here is the original recipe in Aunt Kay's writing on a handy notepad from "Ranchville Colorado." I added the 1 t canning salt line. It helps to have the recipe first so you can confirm that you have everything you need to actually can the desired product.

Here we have the desired product, raw and ready.

You need to blanch the tomatoes and the skin will just peel right off in your hands. To do this, boil water and drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for a bit and then scoop them out into a sink filled with cold water. Remove the skins. And hull the stem part out. I,of course, use the "core and more" from Pampered Chef. It has serrated round edges and works great for hulling anything that needs hulled. Boy, I am good with my words today, aren't I! That's okay because I am working. Canning. I can't use neat words while I am concentrating on preserving food. You understand this if you ever can. Pictured below is the core and more - careful, it is sharp.

Other ingredients besides tomatoes: lemon juice and salt. Oh, lemon juice was not on the original recipe. We've been adding that for years to canned tomatoes since they just aren't as acid as they used to be. "They ain't what they used to be... ain't what they used to be... ain't what they used to be. The poor ol' toms just ain't what they used to be - many ol years ago." Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar, along with 1 teaspoon of canning salt.

Fill the jars, leaving 1/2" headspace (space at the top of the jar.) Slide something long down the sides of the jars to let out any trapped air. I use the handle of my Pampered Chef silicone scraper as it is a "no-no" to use metal. Bamboo would work well, too.

Once jars are filled with peeled and quartered tomatoes and packed nicely, add the lemon juice and salt. THEN fill with boiling water.

Place hot jars in COOL oven. Close the door.

Set temperature to about 275, you need to make sure the contents boil. Set timer for 70 minutes. Now, go forget about them for about 15-20 hours. You don't open the door til the oven is completely cool.

Ta-Da! Every jar sealed and the tomatoes are still bright red and pretty looking.

Oh, that box of tomatoes gave me 7 quarts canned. Next time, I would pack them a bit tighter as some of the jars have more liquid than I want. The nice thing is, I will use these tomatoes in soups, chili and casseroles this winter. I can't wait.


  1. Wow! I'm so impressed, Joy! You are my canning hero. I never made it past freezer jam this year, but I suppose there is still time for me to redeem myself! I have blanched and frozen quite a bit of fruits and veggies though. I love having a stocked freezer. Just bougtht a 1/2 pig and should be getting all of that meat in late September...

  2. I have a friend that cans me under the table!!! She cans like 40 quarts of peaches, pears, applesauce.... that's 40 qts of EACH!!! The nice thing about canning versus freezing is if you have shelf space they last indefinitley, according to KERR, and you can save your freezer space for important things - like icecream! :) Good job preserving food - anyway is great!

  3. How do you place your lids on?


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