canning roasted organic heirloom tomatoes!

27 Sep

Yes indeedy, I went all grandma last week.  I couldn’t stand the thought of not having these wonderful heirloom tomatoes from Klippers when they ran out so I decided to try canning for the first time!  Success!  It’s not quite as difficult as I had imagined, just takes a lot of waiting around while things are processing.

I decided to keep it simple, no sauces, no extra flavouring, just some simple organic lemon juice to keep the tomatoes looking bright and raising the acidity and some kosher salt.  This way I wouldn’t limit myself to what I could make out of it!  18 jars later and I’m happy to say that my entire crate of tomatoes are now bottled, ready for the winter!

Nothing beats the taste of sunshine on a gloomy cold day, these tomatoes are so amazing that I can’t wait to crack open my first jar!

Here’s how I did it!

What you need!
500ml Canning jars with two part lid
Large canning or stock pot (high enough to cover jars standing up)
Jar Tongs (I had two styles)
Magnetic wand
Plastic spatula
Ladle or large serving spoons
Dish towels
Baking sheets, roasting pans or casserole dishes
20-25lb of organic heirloom tomatoes
organic lemon juice
kosher salt

*note: I had to do all of this in two batches since my oven wasn’t big enough!

What to do!

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare your tomatoes!  I decided to go for a mix of all different tomatoes for most of my jars but I have a special love for these Flame orange tomatoes.  A few jars only got these beauties!  Wash all your tomatoes first!

2.  Cut your tomatoes into large chunks.  Make them about the same size, the small ones I left whole and the larger ones I either halved or cut into four.  Take advantage of the racks in your oven and use a combination of sheets and dishes to maximize space!

Put them in the oven for half and hour and then turn down the oven to 275 degrees.  Roast for another 2 hours.

3.  At the last half an hour that your tomatoes are roasting, start preparing your jars. Take out the jars you are sterilizing and check the rims to make sure there are no chips or cracks.

In the large canning pot, put your jars in and fill it the top with water covering the jars completely.  Put the heat on high to boil.  The jars must be boiled for at least 15 minutes (start timing once the water is fully boiled).

*Note – I can only process 6 jars at time so I would recommend that you sterilize the total amount that you need only.

2.  In a small pot, place the sealing lids in some water and heat until simmering, it does not need to come to a full boil.  You do not have to sterilize the screw on rings.

3.  Take your tomatoes out!  The ones on the baking sheet will be drier and more caramelized.

The ones in the deeper dishes will have some great tomato juices at the bottom.  You will use this to pack your tomatoes and it’s a million times better than packing the tomatoes in plain water.  This is 100% tomato goodness people!

4. Time to fill the jars!  With your jar tongs, pick up one of the sterilized jars with the water still inside it.

I set the filled jar on a towel on the counter and then switched to another set of tongs for jars (it was just easier to dump out the water with the second one).  I dumped out the water and saved it in case my canning pot needed more water later, that way I was saving water AND it was already hot so it would reach a boil faster.

Put the empty jar on the towel again, put the funnel on the jar and add 1 tbsp of the lemon juice and 1 tsp of kosher salt.  Scoop out some tomatoes and fill the jar until it reaches at least 1/2 inch from the top (you must leave headspace for the jar to seal properly later).  If you need to, add some of the tomato juices so that it covers the tomatoes and reaches that 1/2″ headspace.

Take a plastic spatula, or even a plastic handle even, and run it along the sides of the jars to release any air bubbles.

Repeat with your other jars and have them lined up carefully ready for the next step!

5.  Time to seal ’em up and process them!  Wipe off the rims of the jars with a cloth to remove any residue.  With your magnetic wand, pick up a lid from the simmering water and plunk it on the top of the jar.  Line it up so it’s centered on the jar.

6. Take a ring and screw it on the jar only finger tight.  I use my thumb and only one finger to tighten it.  Repeat step 5 and 6 for the rest of the jars.

7.  Using your jar tongs, carefully place the jars back in the canning pot.  If the water is not at least 2 inches above the top of the jars, add some more water from your saved water pot.  Bring to a boil, and begin timing once it comes to a boil.  You should process these jars for at least 45 minutes.

Periodically check the level of the water and refill if necessary.

Have a towel and counter space ready for your finished jars.  You will need them to sit in this space for 12-24 hours undisturbed so make sure it’s out of the way!  With your jar tongs, remove the jars and space them a few inches away from each other.  Once they start cooling, you will hear a bunch of popping sounds!  This is an indication that the jars are sealed and vacuum tight.

After 12-24 hours (or when completely cooled), you should check the seals.  Press the top of the jar and if has sunken down and not moving (you can’t press it down further), it is sealed.  Take off the ring and wipe the ring and jar with a towel if there is any water left. Gently tug at the seal to see if it will come off, if it doesn’t great!

Some say that if it is not sealed, you can reprocess the jars as long as it’s under 24 hours.  Some people say that it’s not safe and you should just put it in the fridge.  It’s up to you!

And here it is…it took two batches and almost a whole day but I got 18 jars and they are lined up all pretty in my pantry now!


One Response to “canning roasted organic heirloom tomatoes!”


  1. bring it on winter, I’ve got a POP! « The Urban Pocketknife - September 26, 2011

    […] adventure started last year with a small project of roasting tomatoes and canning them.  Back then, one crate (about 25lbs) of tomatoes seemed like an awesome feat but […]

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