Canning Roma tomatoes at home is an excellent way to savor their delicious, garden-fresh flavor all year long. Roma tomatoes, also known as Italian or paste tomatoes, are ideal for canning due to their meaty texture, fewer seeds, and low water content. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of canning Roma tomatoes, from prepping to sealing.
Supplies You’ll Need
Before getting started, gather the necessary supplies:
- Fresh Roma tomatoes
- Mason jars with lids and bands
- Large pot for boiling water (for canning)
- Smaller pot for boiling water (for loosening skin)
- Tongs or jar lifter
- Cutting board
- Kitchen towels
- Salt (optional)
Step 1: Choosing and Preparing the Tomatoes
Select ripe, blemish-free Roma tomatoes. Rinse them well and carefully inspect them for any signs of decay or damage. Discard or trim away any bruised or damaged portions.
Step 2: Blanching the Tomatoes
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water.
- Using a knife, score a small “X” at the bottom of each tomato. This makes it easier to remove the skin after blanching.
- Place the scored tomatoes in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds, or until the skin starts to loosen.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to the ice water bath to halt the cooking process.
- Once the tomatoes have cooled, gently remove the skins. They should peel away easily due to the scored “X” and blanching.
Step 3: Cutting and Seeding the Tomatoes
- Using a knife and cutting board, core the tomatoes and remove any tough stems or core pieces.
- Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on your preferred size.
- Gently squeeze the tomato pieces over a bowl to remove some of the seeds and excess juice.
Step 4: Preparing the Jars, Lids, and Bands
- Wash the mason jars, lids, and bands using hot, soapy water. Rinse well and allow them to air dry.
- Place the jars in the large canning pot, and fill it with enough water to cover the jars by one inch.
- Bring the water to a simmer (about 180°F) and allow the jars to stay warm for at least 10 minutes.
- Similarly, place the lids and bands in a separate, smaller pot with water and bring it to a simmer to sterilize them.
Step 5: Filling the Jars
- Carefully remove the warm jars from the canning pot, draining any water back into the pot.
- Pack the tomatoes tightly into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top.
- If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar or 1/2 teaspoon to each quart jar.
- Wipe the jar rims with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel to remove any debris.
- Center the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until they’re fingertip-tight.
Step 6: Processing the Jars
- Place the filled jars into the canning pot with boiling water, ensuring that they remain upright and are covered with at least 1 inch of water.
- Bring the water back to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and process pint jars for 40 minutes or quart jars for 45 minutes.
- After the processing time, carefully remove the jars from the pot using tongs or a jar lifter.
- Place the jars on a towel, ensuring they’re not touching each other, and allow them to cool for 12 to 24 hours.
- Once cooled, check the seals by pressing the center of the lids. If the lid doesn’t pop back, the jar is properly sealed.
Step 7: Storing the Canned Roma Tomatoes
- Remove the bands from the jars and wipe the jars clean to remove any residue.
- Label the jars with dates and contents.
- Store the jars in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight for up to one year.
Canning Roma tomatoes is a rewarding and efficient way to preserve your garden harvest for the months ahead. This step-by-step guide will help you enjoy the rich flavor and nutrition of Roma tomatoes in your favorite recipes all year long. Plus, home-canned tomatoes make thoughtful, homemade gifts for friends and family!