Spring has sprung and garden planning is in full gear. Though this winter was full of snowy days, I was still able to see and feel spring at the table and during mealtime. By saving last year’s bountiful crop of tomatoes, I was able to make soup, chili, pasta sauce and even a delicious beef stew.

From my small garden I canned 10 pints of tomatoes. With my new membership to the Ozone Park CSA I hope to can even more this year. Canning is easy and doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. If canning isn’t for you, then freeze your produce. Most importantly, don’t let anything go to waste.

For canning you do need to purchase lids and jars, which can be bought at Target, Wal-Mart or even some supermarkets. You need a large pot for the water bath and then a small area to store your canned produce. You will sterilize the lids and jars; prepare the produce and the place the sealed jars into a large pot of boiling water.

The Ball canning guide is the best source for canning recipes both for beginner and experts alike. They have simple recipes with easy to follow instructions. Below is an easy one for canning whole tomatoes that I followed last year. So I was able to enjoy tomatoes all winter long!


Canned tomatoes

You will need:

– 3 lb whole, halved or quartered tomatoes per quart jar
– Bottled lemon juice or citric acid
– Salt, optional
– (32 oz) quart or (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) WASH tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds or until skins start to loosen and crack. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Remove cores and any bruised or discolored portions. Leave whole, halve or quarter.
3.) ADD 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or 1/2 tsp citric acid to each hot quart jar. Add 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or 1/4 tsp citric acid to each hot pint jar.
4.) PACK raw tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Press tomatoes into the jar until the spaces between them fill with juice leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding tomatoes. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 85 minutes for both pints and quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool.

Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


— Wende