August and September are the months when tomatoes are at their ripest. I always take advantage of these months when good tasty tomatoes are easily available to whip up a scrumptious tomato pasta sauce or tomato curry. As I savor the sweet and flavorful sauce, which one could easily make from scratch, I also lament about the impending cooler months, when tomatoes tend to be relatively less dense and hence a blander in taste. Well, I decided I should lament no more and spend a weekend in the late summer months to can tomatoes for the winter.
If you live in Europe, finding the ripest tomato should be an easy task, considering that we had a long period of extremely hot summer this year. Nonetheless sharpen one's eye and make sure that you pick only the ripest blood red ones. (For canning, I advise avoiding fruits with bruised and pitted surfaces). I prefer plum tomatoes (San Marziano or Romano) for their high pulp density, but any ripe firm tomatoes will do if plum tomatoes are not available.
To a novice, canning may seem intimidating. But it is actually easier than making marmalade. The steps to canning tomatoes are simple, as you can see from our infographic. A process that I tend to be more attentive with regards to canning is ensuring that the fruits are thoroughly cleaned, jars are sterilized, and air bubbles are removed from the capped jars. Some canning afionados may suggest adding a basil leaf or a spoonful of salt before capping the content. My thoughts?...Nah, tomate au naturel is perfectly fine.
I like to can my tomatoes in 250 ml jars; the perfect amount needed to prepare pasta sauce for 1-2 persons. Put these filled jars in a simmering water bath for about 35 minutes. Canned tomatoes can be used to make a wide range of palatable dishes besides pasta sauces. Our Dining and Living segment has numerous recipes using tomato as the core ingredient.
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