Ladies and gentleman as promised here are pictures of the tomato harvest. Tomato wagons are connected to tractors then a tomato harvester follows along side the wagons. Pickers stand in the harvester to remove green tomatoes. As the tomatoes are harvested they travel up conveyor belts to be deposited into the wagons. When full the tomato wagons are hooked to transport trucks or tractors depending on the distance needed to travel to the processing plant.
When home canning pH is very important. In general if the pH is above 4.6 then the food is considered low acid so it must be processed using a boiling water bath canner. If you only use tested USDA approved recipes (which all new canners should use) then all you have to do is simply follow those guidelines. However, I wanted to can my own sauces using recipes it has taken me years to perfect so that means testing pH. The simplest method is to use pH paper but if the sauce is strongly coloured it will throw off the reading. Another problem with pH paper is there is a level of guestimation by simply trying to match the colour to the indicator. For example I tested 5% acetic acid white vinegar with pH paper that read at pH 2.5 however using a pH meter the pH was 2.1. In terms of pH this is a big difference. So while pH paper is a useful indicator a pH meter is better for more accurate readings. Tomatoes and tomato products for the most part can be processed using a boiling water bath or pressure canner but in both cases the current recommendation is to acidify by adding either citric acid or lemon juice. Virtually everything I can that is tomato based is tested for pH mainly for my own records.
Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Pictured is 14 - 500 ml jars of my famous spaghetti meat sauce. This is a slow cook sauce that takes a fair amount of preparation and about 4 hours cook time before being ready for canning or freezing. I use one particular variety of plum tomatoes. The tomatoes are peeled then quartered. Other ingredients including fresh ground, lean ground beef, fresh herbs and fresh mushrooms combine to make a mouth watering hearty sauce. This sauce originally was made from scratch for dinner with left-over sauce being froze. About 6 years ago I decided to try canning some as a convenience product. The results were wonderful! While making this sauce fresh is still the primary way I make it having several jars on hand is a real time saver!