did you do an old post on how you did those cherry tomatoes in the oven and then Canned them? If not you should give us a post on that.
So here we go, with the steps I use, here. Where I live.
How come these tomatoes are all so small? We live at nearly 44 N in a cold place, so our growing season is really short. Our theoretical last date of frost is June 1. This year we had a frost on June 20. The theoretical first frost date is September 24. We haven’t had one yet, but it could happen any day. So we grow things that ripen fast, and that means little grape and cherry tomatoes. And we are picking ALL of them when there is threat of frost, even the green ones. We just keep harvesting them until the plants die. Someday I’m building a passive solar greenhouse. But until then, we’re stuck with short-season varieties.
I prefer to work as efficiently as possible (it leaves more time to do funner things like knitting). So I wash, sort, and de-stem them all in one step.
I use my salad spinner basket and bowl in case the water is especially dirty; that way I can swish them around, lift them out in the basket, and re-rinse in clean water.
Cracked or punctured fruit are put to one side for immediate use. Ones that are squishy little water balloons are rejected into the compost, along with the stems, dried leaves, grass, etc. Nice firm fruit with intact skins are put into a bigger basket to drain. They will last another day or two, if this batch is too big to process in one go, or if something comes up and I have to postpone baking and canning.
Next I grab a handy baking dish, drizzle olive oil in the bottom, and cut each of the cracked fruits in half, and toss into the baking dish. A few small hot peppers also got picked so I cut them into small pieces and tossed them in, as well.
When about half of the tomatoes have been sliced, I sprinkle some salt and black pepper on top, then finish slicing the rest of the fruit.
The last step before baking is to weigh the whole thing, dish and all, so I know how much raw tomato went into the batch. This will be important later for logging into my food tracker, and estimating any additional salt needed for the canning step.
- Baking dish = 1106g
- Olive oil = 17g
- Salt = 5g
- Total weight = 2968g
- So the tomatoes & peppers = 1840g
I stick the uncovered dish into the oven, and bake for 3 hours at 300F. This oven only does a max of 2 hours, so we’ll do that and then one additional hour, stirring in between.
Since this is an off-grid operation, double check to make sure we have sufficient electricity. Yup, more is coming in than going out, even with the oven on and thick clouds, so we’re good to go. ✅
This is a good stopping point if you are busy and want to finish tomorrow, or just freeze the tomatoes.
If you want to can them now, return the dish to a 300F oven and prepare your canning setup:
- Clean jars with matching canning lids (check them first)
- A big pot of boiling water to serve as your water bath, with a lid
- A large mouth funnel
- A ladle
- A dish to set the hot drippy ladle and funnel on, between jars
- Plenty of hotpads
Fill the pot up halfway and start the water boiling. When it’s at a rolling boil, you’re ready to fill the jars.
Put 1-2 tablespoons of salt in the bottom of each jar and use the ladle and funnel to fill each jar one by one, capping tightly when the tomatoes are 1-2cm from the top. Place the filled jar in your waterbath.
When you have all the jars in the water bath, put the lid back on the pot and keep it boiling for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, take each jar out one by one and test the lid to make sure it is tight. Turn upside down and cool on a hotpad.
When they are cool you can label and store them. A little taste of summer to add to recipes when fresh tomatoes aren’t available 🙂
Sock update: Tomorrow I start the heels!