Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Canning Tomatoes

Beautiful Romas from Dart Farms in Manley, Alaska
I have a greenhouse but I grow just enough tomatoes for us to eat.  We never have any extra for canning.  I go to the farmer's market and buy flats of tomatoes from Dart Farms.  John Dart is a farmer in Manley, Alaska and uses the natural hot springs to heat the greenhouses and water the plants.  I've never driven out there to see it all, but I should.
John's wife, Chris, worked with me at the elementary school I taught at.  She is one of those positive, energetic people you love to be around.  She is retired now and I get to visit with her at the farmer's market when I shop there.
I bought a flat of tomatoes, 11 lbs, roasted them and canned them.  I added roasted garlic.  We will enjoy the tomatoes in our tomato soup, with this Cioppino, and this bakes shrimp and tomatoes.
Roasted garlic cloves in each jar.
I don't know what it is, but I love a shelf full of canned goods, I prepared myself, and I know we will have some delicious meals ready for the winter.  Now, I am under no hallucination that this is cheaper.  If I figure it out, tomatoes are $6.00 a lb. at the farmer's market, and I got 9 pints of roasted tomatoes.  So, if I did my math correctly (that is always a gamble), the cost was $7.33 a pint, and that doesn't include the cost of energy and my time.  I figure the jars are reusable, I don't figure the cost of energy or my time when I shop, but this makes these tomatoes about three times as much as I would pay at the grocery store for the organic brand I usually buy.  I justify it by knowing my footprint is smaller for these tomatoes, I know where they came from and how they were processed, I know they are organic, and I am supporting a local farmer.  It is a total win as far as I am concerned.

Packed jars ready for lids and bands and to be processed in the hot water bath.

Canning Tomatoes
11 lbs. Roma Tomatoes (this made 9 pints for me)
Lemon juice

Cut tomatoes into fourths, cut out stem.  Lay tomatoes and garlic cloves in single layer on cookie sheets.  Roast at 425° for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill canner with water, add jars and lids, bring to a boil.

When tomatoes come out of the oven, remove jars from boiling water, fill jars with tomatoes, leaving about 1/2" head space, packing snugly.  Top each jar with one or two cloves of garlic with papery peeling peeled off.  Add 1 tsp. lemon juice to each pint jar.  Top with lid then screw on rings.  Place back into canner and bring to boil.  Process for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

September 4, 2013  Daylight 14 hrs, 14 mins, 56 secs   Temp H 61/L 41°F

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