There are different choices in home canning tomatoes

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By Theresa Howard

Home canned tomatoes may be prepared in a ready-to-use crushed format or left whole or halved. But the latter choices can be processed in a variety of ways, also. Whole or halved tomatoes may be canned with water to cover, in tomato juice, or with no added liquid. The crushed tomatoes are a hot pack only, while the no-added-liquid version of canned tomatoes is a raw pack only. It is very important to use a canning process time that matches up with the preparation directions for filling your jars.

For more detailed directions, stop by the Extension Office and pick up one of our free publications on canning tomatoes. I also have a link to these U.K. publications on our office webpage at uky.ag/larue under the Family Consumer Sciences section. Or you can visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation at nchfp.uga.edu.

Tomato Juice - Hot Pack method
Wash tomatoes, remove stems, and trim off bruised or discolored portions. To prevent juice from separating, quickly cut about one pound of tomatoes into quarters and put directly into saucepan. Heat immediately to boiling while crushing. Continue to slowly add and crush freshly cut tomato quarters to the boiling mixture. Make sure the mixture boils constantly while you add the remaining tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes after you add all the pieces.

If you are not concerned about juice separation, simply slice or quarter tomatoes into a large saucepan. Crush, heat and simmer for five minutes before juicing.

Press the heated juice through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds.

Add bottled lemon juice to hot jars, 1 tablespoon for pints and 2 tablespoons for quarts. Heat juice again to boiling. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint jar; 1 teaspoon to each quart jar, if desired. Fill hot jars with hot tomato juice, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process.

Process in boiling water bath at 212 degrees F: Pints 35 minutes or quarts 40 minutes.
Process in dial gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure: Pints 15 minutes or quarts 20 minutes.