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If you need skinned tomatoes to use in a salad or recipe, here's the simple way to do. This is particularly useful late in the season when the skins of tomatoes tend to become tough and unattractive due cold, extreme heat, bugs, etc.
This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids! Also, this recipe/directions works with either red (ripe) or green (unripe tomatoes).
If you have a Pressure Canner, you may want to see the pressure canning tomatoes page!
These pages may also interest you:
Here's a trick you may not know: put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 - 45 seconds is usually enough)
Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.
This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes! If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce, not very pleasant.
The skins should practically slide off the tomatoes. then you can cut the tomatoes in quarters and remove the tough part around the stem and any bruised or soft parts.
Just like it sounds: wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don't need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do. Another way to do it is to cut each tomato in half, across it, instead of lengthwise. Then just shake the seeds and juice out. Here are before and after photos: Of course, you can save the juice to use as tomato juice!
Toss the squeezed (Squozen? :) tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You may want to save the liquid: if you then pass it through a sieve, screen or cheesecloth, you have fresh tomato juice; great to drink cold or use in cooking! By draining the water off now, you will end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time! And that preserves vitamins (and your sanity).
A frequent problem is the separation of water from the tomatoes. Why does the water separate from the solids in tomatoes?
Scenario 1 - liquid at the top and solids at the bottom
Home canned tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauces with liquid at the top and solids at the bottom is quite normal. It only reflects that the juice was made prior to heating. For example, the tomatoes were chopped, run through the steamer, sieve, or food mill while still raw and prior to heating.
As soon as they are chopped or crushed, enzymes start to break down the pectin that helps to hold tomato cells together. The enzyme that causes separation is activated by exposure to air and inactivated by heat. In commercial production, tomatoes are flash heated nearly to boiling in a matter of seconds, using equipment not available to consumers. Because the pectin holding tomato cells together is not exposed to air when cold, it remains intact, and a thick bodied, homogeneous juice is produced.
The solution is to leave tomatoes whole or in large chunks (do not chop). Heat before chopping or juicing to minimize the separation.
The best way to do that at home is to heat quartered tomatoes quickly to boiling temperatures WHILE crushing. You can also heat the blanched, peeled whole tomatoes in the microwave, then crush them!
Make sure the mixture boils constantly and vigorously while you add the remaining tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes after all tomatoes are added, before juicing. If you are not concerned about juice separating, simply slice or quarter tomatoes into a large saucepan. Crush, heat and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing.
Scenario 2 - liquid at the bottom and solids at the top (note the photo is step 10)
What about the reverse: liquid at the bottom and solids at the top? That indicates too much preheating (more than 5 minutes). Pectin breaks down when it is overheated; then separation results. If separation occurs, just shake the jar before opening or decant the water off.
References: Ohio State University
They will last about the same length of time that a can of tomatoes from the grocery store will last once you open it an put it in the fridge. I'd guess a couple of weeks, but that depends on how cold your fridge is.
There are several possible causes:
- The food was not heated prior to filling (Raw pack method) -
- The food was packed too tightly (or loosely) in the jars
- All air bubbles were not removed prior to sealing the lids and rings on the jars
- The jars were not completely covered with water (applies to a water bath canner only)
- Starchy foods, such as corn, peas or lima beans, absorbed all the liquid. Use more liquid with these starchy vegetables.
- The jars were filled too full.
- Fluctuating pressure in the pressure canner. Let pressure return to zero gradually, avoiding the sudden release of pressure through the vent. Do not hasten the cooling with cold water.
As long as the jars remained sealed, they will be ok, but they should be checked more frequently and used up first!
Tomatoes are a borderline acid / low acid fruit (see this page about tomato acidity for more information) - adding lemon juice helps, processing at least 35 minutes in the water bath canner, or better still, using a Pressure Canner almost eliminates spoilage. If you don't have a pressure canner, you must boost the acid level of the sauce, by adding 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of sauce.
From left to right:
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used
to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts
for years: the canner, jar rack, Jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a
plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball
Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. you will never need anything else except jars & lids! To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!For
more information and current pricing:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Canned Tomatoes - makes 7 quart jars, 32 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2023||Source||Subtotal|
|Tomatoes||20 - 25 lbs (to make about 16 cups of prepared tomato)||free from the garden, or $0.75 cents at a PYO||Garden||$0.00|
|Canning jars (quart size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings||7 jars||$8.00/dozen||Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores; sometimes Big Lots and even hardware stores||$4.50|
|Lemon juice||14 Tablespoons||$0.50||Grocery store||$0.50|
or about $0.72 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
|* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles,, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page.|
Water bath canner with a jar rack
Pressure canner for gas, electric and induction stoves
Canning scoop (this one is PERFECT)
Ball Blue book (most recent version)
most recent version of
the Ball Blue Book