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Information and discussion about canning and dehydrating tomatoes and other garden vegetables and fruits. DISCLAIMER: SOME RECIPES MAY NOT COMPLY WITH CURRENT FOOD SAFETY GUIDELINES - FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN RISK

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Old September 23, 2012   #31
rrllss
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I'm in the middle of processing my tomatoes. I cut and heated them and after putting them thru the sieve I was going to reduce them by half before canning them. But why go to all the trouble of cooking them for a day to reduce by half? Why not put the mixture in the sieve, collect the juice (can that separately) and then take the remaining pulp and put it thru the sieve and then can that as the sauce (it would then be already thick and avoid the lengthy cooking process )? Will I be losing more flavor in the sauce if I take out the juice first? Any thoughts? Any one done this?
[Wasn't sure if this was the right place to post this, if not let me know and I'll try moving it]
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Old September 23, 2012   #32
Cole_Robbie
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You can either can it all, then it settles to half and half in the jar, with the top half looking like water. Or you can pour everything into a pitcher, put that in the fridge for a day or two, and then pour off the clear liquid. I guess it depends on how thick you like your juice.

My problem with cooking everything down in a big batch is that it takes so long, the tomatoes oxidize and turn from red to brown. My big batches of ketchup turned brown, so I added liquid smoke and called them barbeque sauce.
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Old December 5, 2012   #33
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Tomato sauce usually has enough acid to keep the Ph low even when there are finely chopped peppers and onions in it. It certainly doesn't hurt to pressure can it. I pressure can everything except canned half tomatoes. Pressure canning cooks them too much for me. If I want stewed tomatoes I like to cook them that way.

Here's my methods of canning......
Hot Water Bath Canning 101: http://www.hotwiredgardens.com/pdf/C...or_Dummies.pdf
Pressure Canning 101: http://www.hotwiredgardens.com/pdf/C...or_Dummies.pdf

A pressure canner is the best investment a gardener can make.
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Old December 5, 2012   #34
Tracydr
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Originally Posted by Lowlander View Post
I have for the last bunch of years, we have always run out tomatos through a REBER tomato machine and then boil the puree for several hours. After some reduction, we put them in the jars (still boiling) and hot water bath them.

We have hadn't had any issues, but I was wondering about the long process time and acid addition mentioned by other recipes.

Have we done something wrong all this time?? every tomato based product we have canned has been fine with no problems. Am I just being paranoid??
I use the NCHFPwebsite and follow their instructions very closely. I sometimes make recipes frome Elle Topp's "Small batch" preserving book, especially her herbed spaghetti sauce. The NCHFP website also has complete instructions ( I think they may even have a full primer) on how to can. I refer to the pressure canner instructions everytime I pull it out, unless it's only been a week or two.
Btw, don't use the instructions, or the gauge that comes with your canner. A weight set is better, as the gauge needs calibration yearly. The instructions with the canner are never as good as on the website.
I have two Presto canners. Inexpensive but very reliable. Can't see spending lots more for the All American. The only part that might wear out on the Presto would be the rubber ring and it's cheap.
It's quite easy to can tomatoes. Just follow the recipes by the letter, you don't need a pressure canner, just a boiling water pot. I use citric acid instead of lemon juice to increase pH but either one is fine, just needs to be commercial lemon juice. Some lemons ( I'm sure my weird lemon cross fits in this category) are not acidic enough to meet the guidelines.
One thing that drives me nutty is that none of the canning recipes are by weight, they are all volume or, worse numbers of fruits in a batch. But, it's reassuring that there must be a huge fridge factor 1. To account for huge inaccuracies of volume or fruit size variation and 2. To dumb down the recipes for the lowest intelligence and least educated part of the American population. Keep in mind these recipes are treated to keep people safe!
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Old December 5, 2012   #35
Tracydr
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Originally Posted by lakelady View Post
Good thread! I used to have a friend who had a biology degree in food safety something or other. She told me if you knew how commercial jams and jellies were made you'd never eat them. She said the high amounts of sugar were the reason they didn't go bad.

I was going to make sauce and can it tomorrow, but maybe I'll just stick to puree for now
I've completely stopped buying chicken. After reading that 90% grew out at least one of the big food-borne illnesses and 50% grew out e.coli and salmonella, both! Ew!
I don't even feed my dogs chicken from the groceries anymore. I get it from a COOP that gets it straight from the butcher so that it hasn't sat days and days turning into an agar plate.
For us, I grow our own, organic chicken and butcher it myself. I even have a great automatic plucker!
I need to make an order of chicks soon. Not the awful white Cornish hybrids. I'm done with them. I'll do red broilers which are much hardier but still nice and meaty or give and old heirloom breed like Dorkings a try.
When we move, I plan to grow all our meat, which I used to do, until I was forced to live in this godforsaken concrete desert.
12 months and counting down!
I even plan to grow the dogs meat, ( beef, pigeons, chicken, pig, waterfowl, maybe quail) and hopefully supplementing with wild game scraps from a butcher. Around here, there aren't any hunters so no wild game meat processors.

Last edited by Tracydr; December 5, 2012 at 11:04 PM.
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Old December 5, 2012   #36
Tracydr
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Originally Posted by Hotwired View Post
Tomato sauce usually has enough acid to keep the Ph low even when there are finely chopped peppers and onions in it. It certainly doesn't hurt to pressure can it. I pressure can everything except canned half tomatoes. Pressure canning cooks them too much for me. If I want stewed tomatoes I like to cook them that way.

Here's my methods of canning......
Hot Water Bath Canning 101: http://www.hotwiredgardens.com/pdf/C...or_Dummies.pdf
Pressure Canning 101: http://www.hotwiredgardens.com/pdf/C...or_Dummies.pdf

A pressure canner is the best investment a gardener can make.
It's recommended to add citric acid or lemon juice to all tomato products. It's really hard to tell if tomatoes are acidic enough because just taste alone doesn't work. A tomato can be low brix and taste acidic without being very acidic or high brix and taste sweet and have plenty of acidity. It's just impossible to tell. And, pH meters are notoriously inaccurate, plus they need to be calibrated everytime they're used. Finally, canned food will raise in pH as it gets older. So it can test okay and in 6 months be unsafe, becoming a breeding ground in the pantry for botulism if improperly canned.
But, this isn't meant to scare. It's still really, really easy to do things safely. Just follow the directions and don't make any changes. Also, don't blindly follow recommendations on the Internet from just any old forum. The Garden Web Harvest Forum has some canning experts that have actually gone to school and teach safe canning guidelines. There are some safe books and websites. They need to be current ( within less than about 10 years old), not your great grandmothers old recipe, other than jams and other high acidity foods. You'll start to learn how to recognize safe and unsafe sources and recipes as you educate yourself. A good place to start is the Ball Complete Or the Ball Blue Book and reading the entire NCHFP website, put out by the University of Goergia. Colorado State and Minnesota also have pretty good websites.
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Old December 5, 2012   #37
Tracydr
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Originally Posted by rrllss View Post
I'm in the middle of processing my tomatoes. I cut and heated them and after putting them thru the sieve I was going to reduce them by half before canning them. But why go to all the trouble of cooking them for a day to reduce by half? Why not put the mixture in the sieve, collect the juice (can that separately) and then take the remaining pulp and put it thru the sieve and then can that as the sauce (it would then be already thick and avoid the lengthy cooking process )? Will I be losing more flavor in the sauce if I take out the juice first? Any thoughts? Any one done this?
[Wasn't sure if this was the right place to post this, if not let me know and I'll try moving it]
I freeze mine first, then drain, skin, and run through the mill. Then, I mix with spices, onion, garlic and red wine, a bit of organic red wine vinegar. It goes in the crock pot on low for 8-12 hours until its a paste. Incredibly thick and rich with no scorching. The only bad part is that the yield is very low. The good part is that it's so flavorful that it doesn't take much.
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