In a few of my past posts and in multiple Instagram images I have raved about the success of our first garden! Specifically our tomatoes are out of control. We literally cannot keep up with them and I cringe at the thought of how many perfectly red tomatoes are probably ripe and ready to be picked but we have simply run out of room in our kitchen! In an effort to retain as many as possible, Adam and I have tried our hands at canning.
First step: buy a pot. Adam decided to buy the second largest pot available on Amazon and it just barely fits on our stove under the microwave. Barely. As in the lid can’t fit completely and the microwave yelled at us that it was overheating so we unplugged it until we conclude this kitchen adventure.
But it fits and so far it is working!
We split up the cooking tasks. Adam has made 4 different salsas: SUPER hot, medium (mine), mild (gifts for neighbors), and cowboy caviar-style with corn and black beans. I have made two different kinds of tomato sauce, one was basic and roughly taken from a recipe on pinterest and the other was a bit more creative with sautéed onions and jalapeno. Yum! We also prepared some pickled peppers, our sweet peppers and jalapeno peppers have been over producing almost as much as the tomatoes!
I wouldn’t say we did extensive research about canning, Adam did none (of course), and I essentially just looked up how to can tomatoes and tomato sauce on pinterest. But our haphazard method appears to be working! We have spent one full Sunday and two full evenings cooking and canning and have created quite the collection (and not made a dent in our tomatoes…). After a few tests and fails, here are a couple tips I have for newbies:
- Do not be afraid! The only “special” (one use) purchase we made was the jar holder to grab jars from boiling water. Yes, we bought a pot, but we needed a big one anyways and have plans to use it for boils in the future.
- Start small. It takes forever… So plan for a whole day so you aren’t rushed and frustrated. Do one thing at a time. When Adam and I were pickling things, that’s all we did. When he made the salsa, that’s all he did. Etc.
- Label your cans. Duh. Name & Date.
- Don’t take it too seriously. I tend to overthink things and Adam tends to not pre-think at all so we balanced each other in this endeavor and both ended up happy! Try out different recipes, experiment with flavors, but make sure you stick to the safety rules.
- Put a towel at the bottom of the boiling water. It can be tricky when it starts to move around… but you need water to get underneath and the jiggling glass sound can drive you crazy!
- Remove tomato skins using a broiler, not by boiling. See pictures for additional steps!
- You don’t need a pressure cooker. Our boiling water in a pot option is working perfectly! As long as the water can go over the can.
- Share the love. Unless we enter into a zombie apocalypse, there is no reason to have so many canned items! Share with neighbors who had to stare at your garden all summer, or with family who listen to you go on and on about your green thumb!
My canning stories are not over, I still have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, but I am enjoying the journey and looking forward to trying out new recipes and processes!
- Have you tried canning?
- Do you have tips for canning?
- What is your favorite tomato recipe?