Cherry tomatoes are among the sweetest tasting, and canning them allows a family to enjoy the summer crop for many more months. The bite-sized morsels are perfect for many recipes calling for tomatoes. Having the right equipment and following some simple rules makes the canning much easier, and safer. Keeping a clean work area and tools cannot be overemphasized when canning the garden’s harvest.
Check the jars, seals and lids for any damage, such as dents, uneven rims or nicks that would cause the seal to fail.
Wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water and rinse completely. Set the bands aside. Place jars, lids and wiping cloth in a pan filled with 180-degree-Fahrenheit water and keep there until needed.
Fill the canner half-full of water and bring to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the rack in the canner and keep the lid on.
Choose cherry tomatoes that are free of blemishes or damage. Wash and drain them.
Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and immediately dip into ice water.
Skin the tomatoes by pinching them and remove any unripe parts. Leave the tomatoes whole or crush them for sauce. Place into a saucepan and add water to cover. Gently boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Remove the canning jars while the tomatoes are cooking. Set on a towel and add 2 tbsp. lemon juice to a quart jar. Add only 1 tbsp. to a pint jar.
Ladle the tomatoes into the hot jars, leaving ½ inch room at the top. Push down on the tomatoes to expel any air. Liquid must be poured over the tomatoes to fill the spaces, again leaving ½ inch space at the top. You can use either plain water or tomato juice, or the water from the pot that the tomatoes were boiling in.
Add 1 tsp. of salt to a quart jar or a 1/2 tsp. to a pint jar.
Press down and on the sides of the tomatoes to release any additional air bubbles trapped in the jar.
Pull the wiping cloth from the heated pot and clean the jar rims and threads. Place a lid on each jar and screw on the band to medium tight.
Place the jars into the canner rack and lower it into the 180-degree water. The water should be 1 to 2 inches higher than the lids. Place lid back on the canner and heat the water to a boil. Let boil for 40 to 45 minutes for pints and quarts, respectively.
Turn off the heat and let the canner cool. Remove the jars and set on the counter on top of a dry towel. Allow them to cool for 24 hours.
Check the lids after cooling by pressing down on the center. It should stay down. Wipe the jars clean a final time and store in a cool, dark place
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