Selecting the best tomatoes to can is important for taste and quality. Where are the best places to find canner tomatoes? Find the answer here.
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
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.
Putting forth the effort into a garden and reaping the rewards through canning.
Dear Readers –
This month is all about DIY gardening and canning. This is my second year of experimenting with a small garden. Last year, I was able to reap the leftovers of my neighbors’ gardens, but I missed my lesson on canning. However, this year, I’m prepared with canning jars, lids, and two ladies who volunteered to help me!
I hope you are looking forward to simple garden ideas, growing and harvesting your own garden as well as how to preserve your toils of the earth. We’ll also be including a couple other DIY recipes to save you money throughout the year – not just summer – things I have tried and actually work.
Home canning is experiencing a resurgence as an increasing amount of people want to know what’s in their food and want to be good stewards of the environment, but they are on a budget. If you are interested, there is an initial investment (to buy jars, lids, canner, etc) and time too, then home canning just might be for you.
Everything in home canning is reusable, except the food and the lids. This helps the environment since there is less waste for landfills. The practical benefit is that after the initial investment, you’ll save more by spending less on canning supplies in the future.
What Canning Supplies Do I Need?
Jars: The jars you can get at little or no cost. I found my canning jars from my mother-in-law who rarely uses them. There may be someone close to you that would love to give you the canning jars from their basement, maybe even give you some tips. Try buying jars at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets for even less than retail.
Bands and Lids: In retail stores, the bands and lids are about $12 for a twelve pack (depending on the jar size). The lids themselves are around $6 for twelve.
Canner: The biggest investment is the canner, which is around $20 – $100 depending if you want a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner. If you just want to can high acid foods like tomatoes, jams, and jellies, then a boiling water bath canner is for you. However, I would suggest the pressure canner because you can preserve both high and low acid foods as it doubles as a boiling water bath canner. I know this is expensive; however, they are made to last several lifetimes and you can always buy it on layaway.
Miscellaneous: You will also need the Ball Blue Book or Putting Food By ($6 – $14) and a basic canning utensil kit ($8 – $12). All of the mentioned canning paraphernalia will last quite a few years if you take care of them properly.
I’ll be writing more how-to’s of home canning as well as other homesteading articles! What are your experiences with canning food?