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Video:Canning tomatoes

with Chef Richard Ruben

Canning tomatoes is an iconic summer activity. See our tips on how to can tomatoes and enjoy summer all year round!See Transcript

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Transcript:Canning tomatoes

Richard Ruben here, Chef Instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. We’re here with About.com. Canning tomatoes are just iconic, it seems like, for the summer. You want to make sure you take your tomatoes really at the ripe of their moment. Right at the middle to the latter part of the season. On the continental United States it’s somewhere from mid-August to mid September.

Sterilizing Canning Supplies

But before you do any kind of canning or preserving, you need to think about safety. You need a basic starter kit. A good pair of utilitarian tongs. Another pair of tongs are jar tongs. They have this rubberized edge, so, I can lift my jars out of the hot water. I highly recommend getting a wide mouth funnel. This is going to fit nicely in the jar, and then, of course, the jars. But, it’s most important once we sterilize everything you never touch the rim of the jar or the lid of the jar with your hands. These are your hands.

Everything needs to be sterilized. I sterilize everything by dropping it in boiling water for about six minutes. The first thing I sterilize are my tongs. Cause my tongs are going to be lifting everything out of the water. The other thing I sterilize, I take a baking tray, and a rack and I p[ut these in a 450 degree oven for about ten minutes. Cause everything that comes out of the sterilizing water sits on this rack.

Prepare the Tomatoes

With my pairing knife I go in, remove the blossom. It’s just stemming. Totally unnecessary for our canned tomato. Then I want to place a gentle “X” on the very bottom with my pairing knife. These are tomatoes that are going to go into boiling water for about 30 seconds. That’s going to help us remove the skin of the tomato. Come on, let’s put em in.

I love peeling tomatoes, come on, they’re too easy. Thirty seconds in boiling water and wala. And all you want to do is just gently peel the skin. I cut the tomato in half. And if I’m using a beefsteak style tomato I always cut through the equator. It’s widest part of its circumference.

If you’re using a Roma tomato it’s actually the opposite, you want to cut it in half – pole to pole. Either way I efficiently expose the seed pocket, which I can then remove. And, I’m not anal about it. A few seeds get through – that’s ok. But, I like to take the majority out. They tend to be a little bitter.

Make a Tomato Sauce

I like to make just a basic tomato sauce. Basically no onions, no garlic, nothing. The only thing I will add at the very end is some basil. I don’t want to give my canned tomato sauce an agenda. I don’t know if I want to make soup, sauce, who knows what I’m making. So, try to keep what you’re putting up as neutral as possible.

Fill Canning Jars

So our sauce has been simmering away. Going to take my sterilized ladel, got some nice liquid, I still have some good chunk here. So, it’s going to give me options. I might want a textured sauce. If I don’t and I open it up. You can easily throw it in the food processor or blender and smooth it out. But the first thing I like to do is just take some basil and drop it in there being careful not to touch the rim.

So, give it a little fold up. And anchors away. Taking my funnel. I’m now going to fill my tomatoes.Any time you can. Please make sure to remember the head room. That’s the space between the top of the jar and the bottom or the top of your filling. You need about a half inch – and that’s so when we go to can them I allow for the gas to expand and this way they won’t explode. Take my tongs to carefully lift them. Put my lid on. I can grab my rings as long as I’ve sterilized them I’m fine. I’m not touching the inside. Just the outside. Give them a secure twist.

Boil the Jars

They now need to go into a pot of boiling water. Tomatoes, they need to can for a while. Pint size 30 minutes. Quarts, 45 minutes processing time. And then, as always, I would wait for the ping.

Just let them cool on the counter and then come back to them in a few months. Thanks for watching and to learn more, visit us at About.com.
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