I came out of my office yesterday morning, and was greeted by a glorious sight.
Mr. H. was canning tomatoes…
With duct tape.
Before I get to the duct tape, let me tell you what I love about canned tomatoes.
You go from this….
Summer in a jar!!
If this looks appealing to you, follow along.
Mr. H’s Duct Tape Tomatoes
A whole bunch of tomatoes (you need about 20 lbs of tomatoes to make 7 quarts. Said another way, you need about 8 large tomatoes to fill one quart jar)
Why 7 quarts? Well, that’s how many will fit in a pressure cooker or hot water bath.
Lemon Juice – You will need 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice per quart.
Jar Grabber – Used to pick up the hot jars
Lid Lifter – A magnetized lifter so you can lift the lids out of the boiling water after you have sanitized them.
Jar Funnel – This helps you fill the jars without making a huge mess.
Water bath canner – This is used to sanitize the jars before and after filling them. They cost around $30.
Pressure Cooker – We use a pressure cooker to can our tomatoes. You may find directions that say it’s okay to use the water bath canner, but unless you have very acidic tomatoes (green tomatoes would be okay), we just feel a little better with the pressure cooker.
Large pot – Used to scald the tomatoes.
Medium pot – Used to boil water for topping the canned tomatoes.
Small pot – used to sanitize the lids.
Pint or Quart canning jars – We used Ball jars, but Mason are good as well. They cost around $8/dozen (including the lids and rings). Quart jars are more economical. Good news. You can re-use the glass jars next year!!!
Lids – If you didn’t buy new jars, you will need to buy new lids. They are flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals against the top of the jar. They can only be used once.
Rings – These are the metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They can be reused many times.
You will also need colanders, spoons or ladles, hot pads…..and if you are like Mr. H., you will need duct tape.
Ah….finally the Duct Tape
How did Mr. H. use duct tape for canning tomatoes, you ask?
Mr. H. wanted to make a handle to lift his tomatoes out of the boiling water, so used duct tape to create these nifty little handles for the colander.
Brilliant. Just Brilliant.
First, you need to sanitize your jars. You can do this in the dishwasher (some dishwashers even have a sanitize cycle).
Mr. H. used the water bath canner to sanitize our jars.
Put the lids and rings into a small pot of boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
Now grab a bucket full of tomatoes and wash them. Try not to eat them all while you are washing them, but you just might have to pop one or two in your mouth. …Now wipe your chin.
You can pull the stems off while you are at it, but Mr. H. says it’s more time efficient to pull the stems when you are taking the skins off.
Put the tomatoes in to boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds (no more than one minute).
Mr. H says he keeps his ‘maters in hot water for about 45 seconds.
Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and plunge them into a bowl of iced water.
Keep the tomatoes in iced water until they are cool.
Core the tomatoes.
and slip the skins off.
Quarter the tomatoes if they are regular sized tomatoes. If they are plum tomatoes, cut them in half. If they are smallish, you don’t need to cut them at all.
Fill the jars with tomatoes to within 1/4 inch of the top of the jars.
Be sure the contact surfaces (top of jar and underside of ring) are clean so the lids have good surface.
If you need to add liquid, do so at this point.
Mr. H. didn’t add any water, he scrunched them down and got the air out and found he had just enough natural juice.
Add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice to each jar. This helps to reduce the odds of spoilage and helps to retain the color and flavor of the yummy tomatoes.
Using a plastic or wooden knife free the trapped air bubbles by gently sliding it up and down around the inside edge.
Wipe off any tomato that might have ended up on the surface of the lip of the jar.
Use your magnetic wand to fish the lids out of the boiling water and lay on the top of the clean surface of the jar.
Screw on the rings. Just screw them snugly, not too tight.
Using your jar tongs, put the jars in the pressure canner.
Add about 3 quarts of boiling water (follow the directions given by your pressure canner).
Mr. H. adds 2 Tbsp white vinegar. This will help prevent water stains on the jars.
Following the directions for your pressure canner, process your tomatoes.
Mr. H. processed our tomatoes for about 25 minutes.
All ready for those cold days of winter, when a reminder of our summer bounty will be welcomed.
I want me some of those Duct Tape Tomatoes!!!