Canning With Jerry

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About 30 pounds of fresh assorted tomatoes, this produced a bit over 8 pints

As we all know canning food has been around for many many years and there are so many rules to follow for food safety. We recommend to anyone that decides to can or preserve their own food take a food safety course, get a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving or both, a link will be provided below.

There are other preserving books out there and they should do as well but most people in the preserving business recognize the Ball name as the go to people when they have questions or need supplies.

https://amzn.to/2o2mwhS (paid link) this is the link for the Ball Guide to Preserving.

https://www.freshpreserving.com/ A link to the Ball website, excellent information.

Just to let you know, I am not an experienced food canning person, as a matter of fact this is only my 2nd batch of tomato juice, I wanted to put this out there to let people know with a little bit of instruction, safety and preparation even a newbie can do this. Everyone was a newbie at one time, common sense and a good book will do wonders.

As you can see from the wider view this is a lot of tomatoes, to the left is my first batch of tomato juice, you can see my Ninja coffee maker ( I like Ninja products ) the lime juice for my homemade salsa ( recipe in a different post ) and we eat Jif peanut butter.

Before starting to prepare tomatoes I placed the washed jars on the rack that came with the canner and let them sit, I then poured about a half gallon of water in canner and let it start warming up, once all the water is added and everything is getting nice and toasty I placed the lid on pot and left it. I learned from my first batch that if you fill this thing up with water it takes forever to get the water hot, if you put a half gallon at a time in as the water is warming up it goes much faster. The jars need to be hot or at least warm because you will be putting hot juice in them in a bit and a cold jar with hot juice does not mix well.

The following picture shows that I cut most of the tomatoes into quarters, this size seems to work well as it is easy, quick and fits in my Ninja, this also gave me another chance to check the tomatoes for bad spots I may have missed during washing.

Another picture of the tomatoes and to the left is a shot of the first batch that ran through the Ninja
The tomatoes before being processed

The following picture shows what the tomatoes look like after being run through the Ninja, you will notice they are not a pretty red anymore, they are still good to go, they turn more of a pink color after processing because of air being whipped into them, they will return to red shortly.

After the Ninja
to get an idea of the size of this pot, after putting two of the Ninja jars full in it

Below is a picture of the pot filled to the top, this thing holds a lot. As I have been filling the pot I had the burner on a slow heat, once it is full I go to a medium to high depending on your burner and bring to a boil stirring so that it does not stick ( which isn’t a problem with this pot ), I boil this for about ten minutes and then turn it down a little and let the water cook out.

Sometimes you make a mess, sometimes you don’t

As you can see in the picture below I let it cook down to the desired consistency I was looking for, you can see the rings as it went down as the water was being cooked out of it. The amount of water in the tomatoes will depend greatly on the variety used, a Roma tomato will have less water than a Beef Steak tomato which means it will not have to cook down as much nor as long.

After the tomatoes cooked down to my desired thickness it was time to place in the jars which are warming up in the canner. Be cautious when doing this as everything is hot.

I first placed a towel on the counter top so the warm jars would not touch it, sometimes the work area is cool and placing a hot piece of glass on it will cause it to break.

Since I am using pint jars I placed a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice into each jar, I then proceeded to fill the jars with my funnel and a big spoon, if you are good you can just pour it but I am not that good. Next I checked the headspace to make sure it was at the right level, in my case it is a half inch, yours may vary so please check a canning book or something for proper level and canning times.

Checking headspace

With the jar at the proper headspace I flip the tool over, this was in the 20 buck bundle I bought, and go around the inside of the jar to release any trapped air.

After doing this check the headspace again to make sure it has not dropped, if it has add a little more juice until it is at the proper level. Once this is done I place a lid on the jar and a ring to hold it in place. It is now ready to place back into the canner and finish the other jars in the same manner.

Removing air by going around the inside of jar with this tool

Below are the jars after being placed on the rack and lowered into the water, again this is hot, use gloves, pot holders are something for this step. Make sure there is at least a half inch of water covering jars.

Once the jars are lowered bring the water up to a rolling boil, do not start your processing time until it starts to roll, it will get to a boil quicker if the lid is on. In my case the processing time was 35 minutes, yours may be different depending on location.

When processing is finished, I turned off burner and removed the lid, DO NOT REMOVE JARS, let jars sit in the water for several minutes before raising, this gives them time to rest and reduces the risk of the jars cracking due to the temperature change.

once the jars have rested I raised them up and secured basket to the canner, I let them sit for a bit more and then placed them on a warm towel on the counter. Again be cautious because this is hot.

To me the best part of this whole process is listening for the pop, me and my wife stood around waiting and watching for each one to accomplish its mission, that little pop is so satisfying to hear.

The process I just described is for water bath canning ONLY, pressure canning is different. Get the book, take a class, be safe and enjoy the POP.

The following pictures will show some of the items I used in the preparation and canning of my tomatoes before i started getting them dirty, you can use whatever you have on hand that will get the job done, I received this Ninja as a gift one Christmas and the Made-In knife, well I bought three of them because I like good knives.

My Ninja food machine, I use it for a lot of stuff and my Made-In knife, both are great tools to have in my kitchen and maybe yours.
The big water bath canner I bought off Facebook Marketplace along with numerous jars, lids, and canning accessories for $20 bucks and the big tan pot came from a church that was cleaning out their kitchen, it is heavy, built very well and so far nothing has stuck that I have put in it, problem is I do not know who made it.

I placed some links below to some of the items I used, go check them out and compare.

https://www.freshpreserving.com/ The Ball website

https://amzn.to/33JOm1v (paid link) The canning book

https://amzn.to/2MuRIQd (paid link) This is the canning toolbox

https://amzn.to/35MkJP6 (paid link) The water bath canner

https://amzn.to/2MR3tPS (paid link) The Ninja

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