Having cooking skills can significantly boost your survival chances. The knowledge is powerful and can come in handy during homestead or survival situations. You can apply it in prepping and be sure that your survival gear will be used properly for the best result and maximize your survival chances. Food is essential for survival. Therefore, it is vital to know how to store it and prepare effortlessly ant to the most beneficial extent.
Home-made canned tomatoes are the best way to provide yourself and your family with delicious ripe tomatoes for the whole year. Moreover, there will be no need to purchase not such ripe and juicy tomatoes that are supplied from other countries and are grown on a huge scale, which almost always leads to poor quality of vegetables and fruits. Also, large farms always use chemicals to increase the growth rate of tomatoes and their shelf life in the supermarket.
In addition, tomato is a fruit that is extremely easy to grow in your own garden. Some people even grow them in their flats and place flower pots planted tomatoes on the windowsill to ensure light gets on the plant. You will be surprised, but these people succeed! Even if you live in a country with a cold climate and the growing season is short (3 months only, for example), you will be able to grow perfect ripe tomatoes!
Continue reading this article to find out how to diced or crushed tomatoes, what lifehacks will make the process easier, which tools you will need, and how many tomatoes are usually used.
Why Would You Ever Need Canned Tomatoes?
Canned diced tomatoes can be a great addition to dishes such as tomato juice, stews, chilies, and salads. Still, tomatoes are also an excellent separate dish that can be served as a starter or a snack combined with some alcoholic drinks.
It is also a great idea to keep tomatoes in jars for them to not spoil. For example, you might love Italian pasta and cook it every once in a while. When you decide it is the right time to cook it again, you will simply open a jar with canned tomatoes and make tasty spaghetti sauce out of them instead of going to the supermarket and searching for fresh ripe tomatoes there.
You might become inspired to plant tomatoes (or, perhaps, peppers)in your garden by thinking about a huge number of dishes that include diced or crushed tomatoes in them, such as tomato soup, pizza or pasta sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup, tomato jam, tomato juice, and so on.
Tools and Ingredients for Canning Diced Tomatoes
Build a list
Let us begin with a list of ingredients that you should have for cooking and canning diced or crushed tomatoes:
- Tomatoes themselves;
- Bottled lemon juice;
The list of ingredients is as short as possible, and all the components are widespread. What is more, it is not necessary to add kosher salt and lemon juice. So ingredients more or less depending on your taste. Usually, people can find these things at home. If not, you will have to care about purchasing missing products in advance.
Now we are ready to move on to the process of cooking the tomatoes. Ger acknowledged with the list of tools for this step of canning diced tomatoes:
- A knife for cutting tomatoes;
- The cold water in a major jar or bowl;
- A slotted spoon or a ladle;
- Quite a big pot (you can use the same one for preparing and canning tomatoes, but it should be at least 3-quarts. The best size is 7-quarts).
The main stage
Now we are moving to the main step. Here is the list of the tools that you will need for canning the tomatoes when they are cooked and ready to be put in the jars:
- Hot water bath canner;
- Pint jars that you will put tomatoes in;
- Enough rings and jar lids for the canning jars;
- Jar lifter also known as tongs;
- A funnel;
- A ladle;
- Something for getting rid of air bubbles in the jar with diced tomatoes (you might search for a special tool);
- A few towels that you usually use in your kitchen. Take clean ones;
- A 7-quart pot.
If you have all the needed tools and ingredients, you will be ready to start canning diced tomatoes!
How Many Tomatoes do You Need for Canning
In general, no answer is universal for every case. Actually, you can make diced tomatoes with almost any number of fresh tomatoes you have in your garden or those that you have bought in the supermarket. For instance, you might only make one pint of canned diced tomatoes. It is recommended to use Roma tomatoes or paste tomatoes. They are the most frequently used for canning.
However, it makes sense to prepare a lot of jars of your own diced tomatoes in advance. The process is pretty easy but still takes time. What is more, some special tools such as a pressure canner are needed so you might also spend some money on them.
We would recommend preparing approximately 15 pounds of tomatoes. This amount is ideal because it fits in a nine-pint canning jar perfectly. You might not have so many tomatoes in your garden. In that case, be free to can fewer tomatoes or simply put various types of tomatoes in one jar. If there is much free space in a pressure canner, use other jars to fill it and avoid canning jars’ moving while being prepared.
If you have many tomato plants in your garden, all the canned diced tomatoes you make will be enough for you to eat the whole year until the next growing season. If you have a big garden that you use a ton of tools for, and enough patience to grow tomatoes during summer (the process is not difficult at all, though), you will be enjoying the diced tomatoes during the next year, too.
Therefore, the more tomatoes you have this year to can help them, the more canned tomatoes you will have to use in various dishes and eat during the whole year. Canning tomatoes is a great way to save some money on buying ripe tomatoes in the low season and enjoy garden-fresh tomatoes.
Before You Start Canning Diced Tomatoes
The process of canning diced tomatoes starts. You should add citric acid or lemon juice to the jar. But why?
Canned crushed tomatoes cannot be made without adding bottled lemon juice or citric acid. You may be surprised since tomatoes are, in fact, acidic, so what is the point in adding more citric acid to the jars? The thing is that different sorts of fruit have various percentages of acid in them. Moreover, citric acid is crucial for canning using a water bath canner.
Citric acid might be hard to find and quite dangerous to use for people that are not acquainted with the rules. Therefore, it might be easier to add lemon juice instead. But even in that case, before starting, you should read bottled lemon juice instructions.
Peeling the Tomatoes and Preparing Kitchen Utensils
When you have read the checklist of the tools that are needed for preparing tomatoes and checked that you have everything listed above, you will be ready to start cooking tomatoes.
What exactly should you do to prepare your own tomatoes? Let us get things clear for you.
- Wash tomatoes, canning lids, rings, and mason jars. Wash the dishes in hot water with soap. Get rid of the soap and make a boiling water bath. Put all the jars there and let fifteen minutes pass;
- Place every hot jar on the table (take a towel so that it absorbs all the water) and let it dry. It is not necessary to wait until the jars are dehydrated. What is more important, it is important to put hot tomatoes into the hot jars. Do not let hot jars cool!
- As the next step, peel the tomatoes. Remove skins from all the tomatoes by putting them in hot water and waiting for one minute. Then replace heated tomatoes from the pot with the ice water bath. Prepare a bowl of ice water in advance. After that, it will be easy to peel the skin;
- The next step is slicing tomatoes. You should dice the tomatoes in quarters. Put all the quartered tomatoes in the bowl.
The Process of Canning Diced Tomatoes
We want to congratulate you on finishing all the preparation. Now let us finally move on to the canning! Luckily, the most complicated steps are already completed!
For the start
- You will need a water bath canner. Fill it in with water. The jars that you will put in it must be covered in the water. After you have placed all the jars in the canner, you will need to wait until the water boils. Leave the jars in hot water for approximately ten minutes or a bit more to make them absolutely clean. The time needed depends on the type of jars you are using: a pint jar or a quart jar. Quart jar requires more time since its size is bigger;
- You have already prepared and cut tomatoes. Now you need to cook them. You should make a big pot and add approximately three cups of prepared tomatoes to it. Add liquid and wait for tomatoes to boil. Tomatoes have their own juice that you can add by squeezing fruits in the pot. You can do steps one and two at the same time since they take the same amount of time. When the first portion of added tomatoes boils, it will be time to add all the prepared tomatoes left;
- Let tomatoes boil, and then reduce the heat. Leave fruits to boil for some time slightly. You will know it is time to remove the pot from the stove when the jars are ready, too;
Passed the middle
- Do not forget that you have to clean jar lids and rings as well. They do not take as long as jars to boil. As soon as five minutes pass, they are ready to be used;
- Jar lifter helps to replace the jars from the hot water to the towel on your kitchen desk.
- Fill in a water bath canner with the hot water that has already been used. In this case, it will boil again faster. Add the water so it will fully covet all the jars (pay attention to the fact that the jars must not be extremely close to each other and the sides of the water canner). When all the wide-mouth jars are covered, you will need to add a little bit more water, so there is one inch of the liquid above them;
- Add lemon juice (two tablespoons) or citric acid (half of the teaspoon) to the quart jars. Bottled lemon juice can be used instead of citric acid;
- Now you will need to close the jars. Do not fill the jars completely. Instead, there should be roughly half of an inch of the free space in each jar. Clean the mouth, put a ring and a lid on it. Do not forget to get rid of bubbles. Do not close jars tightly. There should be a chance of air to come out of the jars while they are boiling in the water canner;
- When you place the closed jars back in the canner, you will also need to close it with its lid. Increase the heat and wait for half an hour more;
- After half an hour or approximately 40 minutes, the jars are ready to be removed from the water bath canner. Do not put the jars straight on the kitchen table. Use something like a towel because the jars are extremely hot. Be careful when getting them out from the water canner. Wait for a few hours until all the jars will become cool. You can leave them for one night and check in the morning, or if you are patient enough, you will be able to wait for the whole day;
- After the time of waiting has passed, you can wash the jars. If you want, you can print out a paper with a product name if you have other canned products at home.
It is done!
That is it! Now you know how to can your own diced tomatoes that you will be enjoying eating during the whole year. You can keep the sealed jars in the dark and cool place. We would not recommend placing them in the fridge, and there is no need to freeze diced tomatoes. What is more, try to eat diced tomatoes before they are stored for more than one year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long do you hot water bath diced tomatoes?
You should place crushed tomatoes in the boiling water bath canner for approximately half an hour. The exact time depends on the size of the jars. For instance, quart jars are bigger than pint jars, so it is recommended to leave them in the boiling water canner for ten minutes more.
It is crucial to check if the water is still boiling regularly. When you place filled jars in hot water, as soon as you have fully prepared diced tomatoes for each of the jars and only after that move to the next jar to fill it in, you will have to be especially careful and attentive. Remember that all the jars should be boiled in the same conditions.
If you want the water to boil calmly, you will have to wait for it to boil and reduce the heat after that moment. If you notice that it does not boil anymore, you will need to increase the heat again.
Do you have to cook tomatoes before canning?
On the one hand, the canning process is quite easy. On the other hand, it takes a lot of time and patience. Not only do you have to can the peeled tomatoes but also you have to prepare them. However, there is no reason to worry about it. Every canning recipe includes at least a short prepping process that should be done before placing jars in the jar lifter so you can follow the instructions step by step. In addition, preparation does not take long.
All you have to do is to peel the tomatoes and use a sharp knife to dice the tomatoes. It is much easier to peel them after they have been boiled in hot water. However, there is no need to leave tomatoes in the boiling water for more than one minute. After they have been peeled, you have to cut tomatoes. Quartered tomatoes can be mixed with salt, but not all the canning recipes include adding salt.
One ingredient that cannot be missed is lemon juice that replaces acid. Acids make diced tomatoes long-lasting and non-perishable. That is exactly what people look for in canned products.
Can you can tomatoes without a pressure cooker?
All the canning recipes usually involve working with a pressure canner. However, if you have never dealt with canning diced tomatoes before, it will seem pretty complicated. You may not want to waste your time figuring out what it is and how it works. Moreover, not everyone is ready to spend a lot of money on purchasing an expensive pressure cooker. In that case, we are happy to say that canning tomatoes are actually possible without a pressure cooker.
All you will need is a large pot. When placing your canning jars with diced tomatoes in them, there will be at least four inches from the top of the jar to the pot’s lid. A pot that you choose has to close tightly with its lid.
When you find the right pot, you will have to repeat almost the same actions that are listed in the receipts. Put the jars filled with diced tomatoes in the pot. A jar lifter can help you with that. Make sure that the jars stay away from each other. They should be standing in the water (approximately two inches of each jar must be covered in water).
Heat the pot so the water boils for half an hour (ten or fifteen minutes more might be needed in some cases). The lid should be placed on the top of the pot during this time.
Can you can tomatoes with the skins on?
To make your own diced tomatoes, it is often recommended to peel the skins. Tomato skins do not taste good when being canned. They can make tomatoes bitter. That is why it is better to peel the skins when preparing diced tomatoes for canning. It is essential to get rid of the skin in case you are planning to use canned diced tomatoes for making a tomato sauce or juice. If you prepare a diced tomatoes without skin, it will be much easier to use a potato masher afterward.
Actually, peeling skins is extremely easy. There are a couple of ways to do that. You can rather boil tomatoes for one minute or, on the contrary, place them in the freezer. Before boiling, tomatoes take a sharp knife and score something like an X sign at the bottom of the fruit. It is needed to peel the skins after boiling easily. Place the tomatoes in the pot after the water in the pot was brought to the rolling boil. Do not try to remove the skin shortly after boiling fruits. Let them cool first. It is also a good idea to put them in the ice water afterward.
If you want to try another way of peeling the skin, you will need to put all the tomatoes you have collected in the plastic bags and place them in the freezer. This lifehack will also be useful when you do not collect all the tomatoes at the same time, and you do not want some of them to spoil before you are ready to can diced tomatoes. The skin simply splits, and it becomes easy to peel it.