Friday, August 29, 2014

Canning Tomato Juice

Good Afternoon!



Woooh! It's been a busy day! We just put our Oysterfest 2014 tickets on sale at Meritage. I have been busily filling orders and making sure to put all of our ticket holders on a spreadsheet so that when they come to check in the day of the festival they are all set!

Sorry for the over enthusiasm. This becomes a huge part of my work day for the next month. The festival is on October 12th and is a day completely dedicated to the bivalve. It is a pretty unique festival for a land locked state  but we end up shucking tons and tons of oysters its pretty amazing.

Now that I am done with my tangent I will get to the task at hand. Teaching you about canning. My family has always canned. My mom and her siblings would always share their goods during Christmas which has always inspired me to can myself. In the past couple years I haven't had the time   to really learn but FINALLY I just decided if I didn't make the time I would never learn. So about six months ago my mom and I made concord grape jam. Canning is definitely a process. Sanitation is the most important aspect of canning and making sure you are keep everything CLEAN!

When canning preservation is the main goal. Successfully preserving foods means that you can keep your product on a shelf for a good amount of time. There are some risks that come with trying to keep your canned product shelf stable and if you can guarantee that you have allowed no outside bacteria to enter that jar during processing you are on your way to keeping your product shelf stable.

To Read More about Canning Click Below...



The main contaminant of most home canned goods is called Clostridium Botulinum. The germ is found in soil and can survive, grow and produce toxin in a sealed jar of food. The toxin can affect your nerves, paralyze you, and even cause death Even taking a small taste of food containing this toxin can be deadly. The Bot Toxin is rare in that it can live in very cold temperatures and very war temperatures. Most canned products are often eaten cold or at room temperature since for the most part they are fully cooked. Since the Bot Toxin is present at these temperatures it can be very dangerous. Making sure your canned goods don't become contaminated is very important.

Tips to keeping your Canned Goods Safe

Use proper canning techniques

Make sure you are using up to date directions and follow them completely. Do not cut corners and go through the recipe step by step.

There are two types of canning methods, Pressure or water bath canning.

Pressure canning is the only type of canning that can completely eliminate the threat of Botulism. The amount of pressure during this cooking method will destroy the toxin and make your canned product safe for consumption. Pressure cooking technique is a bit more specialized so make sure you are paying attention when completing this task.

Water bath canning is done by just submerging your jars in water and boiling them for an allotted period of time. Each vegetable is different to make sure you seek the information needed for the particular type of produce you are using. Water bath canning when done correctly and in a sanitized environment is safe but your risk of contamination is higher so make sure you follow all the steps to make sure you are properly sanitizing your equipment.

Use Sanitized Equipment

Make sure you sanitize ALL of your equipment before putting vegetables in their jars. I put all of our jars through a very HOT cycle on the dishwasher. I also boiled all the lids and the funnels that we used to fill the jars. Do not touch the inside of the jar with bare hands, make sure to use a magnetic lid grabber when fastening the lid and always wash or cook produce before you put them into your jars.

Before Eating Inspect your Canned Goods for signs of Contamination

There are signs that your cans may be contaminated these include:

- Looks damaged or cracked
- The jar is leaking or swollen
- The product looks to be fermented when you open it (foamy or overflowing)
- product looks moldy, cloudy or smells bad


Now that I have thoroughly scared everyone- I will go into the steps to successfully canning your own heirloom tomato juice.

I got my tomatoes from the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. I went to the market looking for tomatoes that would be good for canning and it just so happened they had a whole boxed labeled canning tomatoes. If you are wanting to make juice out of your tomatoes ask your farmers which tomatoes they would recommend for producing juice. Some tomatoes are produced to not create juice so you need to make sure that they are a meatier tomato.


Now that you have your tomatoes make sure you get all of your materials together and sterilizes.

Wash your Jars and Lids

I washed my jars in the dish washer and I boiled the lids in a pot of water on the stove.
Make sure you have your magnetic lifter and you have sanitized your funnels.



Cut up the tomatoes and quickly put into the pot

To prevent the juice from separating, quickly cut about 1 lb of tomatoes at a time into quarters and put directly into a saucepan on the stove.

Get your canning water boiling

In a Large pot that allows enough water to cover the type of jar you will be canning bring your water to a boil. Make sure the metal jar holder is in place- this helps you to left the jars in and out of the water.

Continue Cooking

Simmer five minutes after you add all pieces. Crush, heat and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing.

Sieve

I used a small metal strainer to eliminate all the skins and flesh that was left after spelling the juice. You can also use a food mill cheese cloth. The cheese cloth method can be a bit dangerous because the tomatoes will be very hot at this point.

Return to pan

I then returned the juice to the pan and continued to cook. Tomatoes need to be thoroughly cooked to eliminate the potential for contamination. I wanted to water bath cook my jars so I wanted to make sure they were cooked long enough before they went into the jars.

Add Lemon Juice and season to each still empty jar

 Add lemon juice to acidify the contents to avoid spoilage and increase safety.

Acidification: To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes. Add two table spoons of lemon juice. Acid can be added directly to the jars. This ensures the pH to stay at the correct level.

Fill Jars and put the lid and rings on


Fill jars with hot tomato juice, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Screw on lids and make sure they are completely secure. Place the jars in the metal rack over the pot of boiling water, once they are all loaded drop the rack into the pot and put the lid on it.

For pint size jars boil for 35 minutes, for quarts boil for 45.

Once done remove from the rack, let cool and store in a cool dry place.

Making sure you follow all these steps when canning your juice will ensure a safe  and delicious product.

I was able to try the juice I made a week ago- it was great. Remember if you are using summer tomatoes the juice will tend to be a bit sweeter. I love the flavor but will most likely use the juice for pasta sauces and soup bases because of that extra sweetness it will add to the dish.

Let me know if you have any other canning questions and don't forget to check out all the rest of the canning and pickling posts from this week!

Laura




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