Canning your own food is a great way to preserve fresh produce for long-term storage. One of the most versatile and widely used canned food is diced tomatoes. In this article, we will guide you through the process of canning diced tomatoes using the water bath method in 2023. This method is perfect for beginners and requires minimal equipment.
Preparing the Tomatoes
The first step in canning diced tomatoes is to prepare the tomatoes. Start by washing and sanitizing your jars, lids, and bands. Then, wash your tomatoes thoroughly in cold water and remove any stems or blemishes. Next, blanch the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds and then immediately transferring them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Peel and dice the tomatoes or crush them if you prefer.
Before filling your jars with diced tomatoes, you can add some seasonings to enhance the flavor. This step is optional, but some common seasonings include salt, garlic, and basil. Make sure to add the seasonings in moderation to avoid overpowering the flavor of the tomatoes.
Filling the Jars
Fill your sanitized jars with the diced tomatoes, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. Use a non-metallic utensil to remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace if needed. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth to remove any food particles or residue. Place the lids and bands on the jars and tighten them just until they are finger-tight. Do not over-tighten the bands.
Water Bath Canning
Place the filled and sealed jars in a canner or a large pot filled with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring the water to a rolling boil and process the jars for the recommended time, which is usually 35-45 minutes. The processing time may vary depending on your location and altitude, so make sure to check your canning guide for the correct time.
Cooling and Storing
After the processing time is over, turn off the heat and remove the canner or pot from the stove. Allow the jars to cool down naturally for about 12-24 hours. Do not touch or move the jars during this time. Once the jars are cool, check the seals by pressing the center of the lids. If the lids do not pop back, the jars are properly sealed. Store the jars in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
When canning diced tomatoes, safety is paramount. Always follow the recommended processing times, use only high-quality and fresh ingredients, and sanitize your equipment properly. Do not reuse lids or bands, and do not attempt to can tomatoes in a pressure cooker unless you have experience and the necessary equipment.
Canning diced tomatoes using the water bath method is a great way to preserve the freshness of the tomatoes and enjoy them throughout the year. With these simple steps and safety tips, you can confidently can your own diced tomatoes in 2023 and beyond.