It’s July and canning season for tomatoes will be upon us in 4-6 weeks. Now is the perfect time to prepare yourself to can summer’s harvest of tomatoes.
Before you sanitize your first jar, you’ll need to take into account the following:
1. Where you purchase the tomatoes. You can find the best tomatoes in several places, such as:
- Your Own Garden
- Farmer’s Markets
- Roadside Stands
2. Price. It’s not worth it to can if you’re paying exorbitant prices. The least to the most expensive options are:
- Your own garden – is always a good choice and the least expensive option. You control the insecticides used so you know exactly what you’re eating.
- Farmer’s Markets – patronize local farm markets use a limited amount of pesticides (hopefully, but always ask). If you start checking every week in early August, then you’ll know when canner tomatoes are available. They’re not as pretty as the tomatoes from the beginning of the season, but they’re considerably cheaper and still taste wonderful.
If you want to save even more money, there is the option of purchasing “seconds.” These are the flawed tomatoes that aren’t as in good shape as the regular canning tomatoes. You’ll need to cut off some spots, but they are oftentimes much cheaper.
Remember to have a good rapport with the employees of these places. Sometimes it’s possible they will call you when the canner tomatoes are ready, or they can hold back regular or second canning tomatoes just for you.
- Roadside stands – I would advise against this because these places sell mostly tomatoes that look pretty but are higher priced.
3. When are you planning to can the tomatoes? It’s best to can them within 24-48 hours to maximize your investment by making sure you are able to use the tomatoes before they spoil.
Next is how to can tomatoes for the beginner canner.