COLUMN: Acidify those tomatoes when canning

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By Theresa Howard

Because tomatoes may be borderline in the amount of acid they contain, or even slightly low-acid for canning purposes, some precautions must be taken to can them safely. To ensure the safety of whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes they must be acidified, whether processed in a boiling water bath or pressure canner.
To acidify tomatoes, add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint of tomatoes. For quart jars, use 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid.
The acid can be added directly to each jar before filling them with the product. If this makes the product taste too acid, add a little sugar at the time of serving to offset the taste.
Prepping tomatoes – Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve.
Whole or halved (packed in water)
Hot pack: place prepared tomatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil gently for five minutes. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to hot jars.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar; 1 teaspoon to each quart jar, if desired. Pack hot tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from top with hot cooking liquid. Remove air bubbles.
Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process as follows:
• Process in boiling water bath (212° F): Pints 40 minutes, quarts 45 minutes.
• Process in dial gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure: Pints or quarts for 10 minutes.
Stop by or call the Extension Office at 358-3401 to pick up free publications on home canning and freezing.