Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preserving summer- Tomato puree

I spent the last few days up in the Okanagan Valley, a little piece of heaven 4 hours drive from Vancouver.

Looking over Naramata 
Though the valley, especially around Naramata has been almost taken over by the wine industry, there are still some orchards and small farms selling wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables.  Amongst other things we brought back a case of plum tomatoes, as I wanted to continue with my eat fresh, eat local lifestyle. This would mean preserving some of the fruits of the summer to consume in the depths of winter.

I have not really canned before, so I am no expert, but there are plenty of them on the web, which is where I did my research.  There seemed to be 2 important things when canning tomatoes, add lemon juice to up the ph levels and to process in a water bath for 30 hours or until the lids are sealed.

I also read about ways to skin tomatoes and opted for the easiest method, food processor. I did 2 batches each one about 7 lbs.

I just cut the tomatoes in to quarters and then in processed until they were a pulp, obvouisly I had to do this several times for each batch.

Pureed tomatoes
I then added them to a large pot added some salt and pepper 8 tablespoons of lemon juice, and simmered for about an hour until the pureed tomatoes had thickened up a little.

Just added to the pot
After simmering for an hour
One batch I left completely plain and the other I added some of my basil from the garden.

When it was the thickness that I wanted I poured the puree into the jars which I had run through the dishwasher. And placed them in my brand new canner. As I said I am not expert in canning and therefore do not want to give full canning instructions, there are plenty on the internet if you feel motivated to give it a try

I boiled the jars for 35 minutes, at this point most of the cans had sealed, but one of them took a further 10 minutes before it pinged.  I think this might have had something to do with how full the jar is.

Completed jars of tomatoes just waiting to be part of a meal this winter reminding us of the glory days of summer. 

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