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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tomato Tips and Home Canned Tomato Juice

Before I start the tomato posts, I thought it would be nice to give a few tips for processing tomatoes.  Aside of the tomatoes I grow, I get hampers of field tomatoes for processing.  A hamper is 5/8 of a bushel or 15 kg (33.1 lb).  Many tomato product recipes call for a certain number of kilograms or pounds while others indicate the required weight followed by the number of milliliters or cups of prepared tomatoes needed.  This gives you and estimate of how many tomatoes to buy if necessary.  On average, 454 g (1 lb) of tomatoes will give a yield of 500 ml (2 c) chopped tomatoes or 625 ml (2½ c) sliced tomatoes or 375 ml (1½ c) crushed or puréed tomatoes.

Tomatoes should be firm and ripe.  Do not use tomatoes with signs of spoilage.  It is common to lose as much as 10% in weight due to spoiled tomatoes in a hamper.  The longer a hamper sits, the more that will be lost to spoilage so only buy or pick what you can comfortably process within a 48 hour period.  Washed well in soap to remove any soil.  Rinse then transfer to a sink of cold water with about a 125 ml (½ c) of white vinegar.  Let soak about 10 minutes.  This will remove any contaminants as well as kill of surface bacteria.  Tomatoes can then be blanched to slip the skins off if desired.

I usually make two or three products per hamper of tomatoes.  When tomatoes are cut, pectase is activated causing the tomato to drain liquid.  Seeding and draining tomatoes that will used for certain products is desirable as it reduces the cook time.  The liquid can be collected, strained and made into tomato stock.  Most of my tomato products are home canned using a pressure canner wherever possible although a few are processed in a boiling water bath canner (BWB).  However, many can also be frozen if you don't want to can them.  All home canned tomato products must be acidified with citric acid, lemon juice or vinegar.  Home frozen tomato products do not need to be acidified.

home canned tomato juice
Commercially canned tomato juice is not expensive but home canned tomato juice is by far superior in flavour.  Home canned tomato juice lacks the tinny flavour many complain about because it is canned in glass jars rather than metal cans.  It is also a great way to use up excess tomatoes from the garden as any variety of tomatoes work well for juice.

I canned 5 L of plain tomato juice in the pressure canner.  I have also been experimenting with a Clamato juice clone which is a spice up version to tomato juice using clam juice as an ingredient (more to come).  Tomato juice can be processed in a BWB canner (500 ml jars 35 min, 1L jars 40 min or 1.5 L jars 50 min) or in the pressure cooker (500 ml or 1 L 15 min at 10 lb pressure) at altitudes up to 1,000 feet above sea levels.  Refer to the altitude adjustment chart on the Canning FYI page if you are above that altitude for timing and pressure adujstment.

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