We have been blessed with a very successful gardening year. Our gardens are bursting with fresh produce – tomatoes, peppers, carrots, snap peas, green beans, beets and radishes. Our zucchini didn’t fare so well with the endless, pounding rain storms we had for nearly two weeks straight, but our butternut squash, pumpkins and gourds have held on and are loaded with ripening produce.
Making the time to process, preserve and store this abundance of produce has been a priority, and I have been in the kitchen canning away nearly every day. Even if it is just a few jars of pickles or sauce, one by one it all gets put away for the winter ahead. Every time I walk by our basement pantry, now bursting with colorful jars of canned goods, I have to take a minute to stop, stare, and smile.
Canning diced tomatoes is actually pretty simple, and is a great way to put away tomatoes for the seasons ahead. I like putting diced tomatoes up, because they have such versatility of use in the future. I can dump a jar into stews or chilies, or blend and cook down into sauce.
Lemons or Lemon Juice
- Clean and sanitize jars.
- With a sharp knife, start dicing tomatoes into 1/2″ cubes. Make sure to de-stem, and cut off any undesirable bits.
- Add tomatoes to jars. Since I was canning two varieties of heirlooms, I tried to add a little of both types to each jar.
- Really pack the jars full, pushing down the tomatoes and filling up to the neck of the jar. I recommend draining any juice that may collect in the jar, especially if you have very ripe tomatoes. I didn’t do this the first time, and ended up with a lot of juice left in the canned jars, where I could have fit more tomatoes. There is nothing wrong with this of course,but it’s best to utilize your jar spaces as much as possible, and it looks nicer when finished, too.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to pint jars, and 1 teaspoon to quarts
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to pint jars, and 2 tablespoons to quarts
- Wipe jars down, being sure to clean and dry the rims. Put on lids and rings, and process jars in a water bath for 40-minutes.
- Remove from water bath, and allow to cool. Check seals after 1-hour. Any jars that have not sealed should be put into the refrigerator immediately. Sealed jars should be allowed to cool fully, then wipe down, remove rings and store in cool, dry area.