new to canning tomatoes

possumjoJuly 17, 2010

Just canned my first batch of tomatoes using a pressure canner, but the tomatoes are floating in the jars with the liquid below them. Also, there was tomato juice in the water inside the canner when they were finished. Can someone tell me what the problem might be? Should tomatoes be canned with just a hot water bath or in a pressure canner with the weight thing on it?

thanks

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murkey(6)

You don't have to pressure can tomatoes, they have enough acid to just do them in a waterbath, usually 45 minutes for quarts, half an hour for pints. My mother-in-law used to just open-kettle them, ladeling the boiling tomatoes into sterilized jars and sealing each jar right away. I know that is not recommended any more, but she raised 10 kids and nobody ever got sick. I like the waterbath, because the tomatoes stay firmer.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:43AM
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murkey(6)

Is there a way to stop food from floating up in the jar after it is processed? Possumjo mentioned her tomatoes doing it ( mine alway do, too). My pickles are doing the same thing, packing them in the jar is like a jigsaw puzzle, you can never get them tight enough. I worry that the top ones may not get enough brine that way and go in the basement every couple of days to turn them upside down.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:58AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No, you don't HAVE to PC them but it is recommended to do so and it seems to have become the preferred process for many home canners. Not to mention that the processing time is much shorter. But do please note that adding the extra acid to them is recommended regardless of which way you process them.

the tomatoes are floating in the jars with the liquid below them

That is fairly common no matter which way you process them and is due to the air in the fruit itself. However they quickly settle back down into the jar with a few days. They tend to float less if you use the hot pack method than they do if you use raw packing.

Also, there was tomato juice in the water inside the canner when they were finished. Can someone tell me what the problem might be?

That is a result of what is called "siphoning" and is caused by either fluctuations in the pressure during processing, too many or too much change in the heat source during processing (playing with the stove knob ;), or failing to wait 10 mins once the canner returns to zero before removing the lid.

Did you can yours in water, in their own juice, or in tomato juice? Check out the instructions linked below for more details.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Canning Tomatoes

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:06AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Not all tomatoes are high-acid, which is why additional acid in the form of citric acid powder, lemon juice or vinegar is required. We currently have in our garden several known low-acid varieties.

Not only are there known low-acid varieties of tomatoes but growing conditions also affect acidity.

Be aware there have been reported cases of botulism in tomatoes as well as other problems associated with out-of-date canning methods such as spoilage and seal failures. At the very least you face the likelihood of waste and who wants that after all the hard work?

Home-canned tomatoes will float and will not look like commercial tomatoes. The processes are different. You can reduce the problem by following Dave's recommendations.

Siphoning has many causes. Avoiding it is part of the learning curve, but there's nothing about tomatoes per se that would cause siphoning. You need to do a little trouble-shooting to identify the reason and then you'll find it ceases to be a problem.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Siphoning and Other Problems with Canned Foods

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:56AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Just be sure you check the METHOD of processing. The 45 min. is if you add WATER to the jars of tomatoes. Packed raw with no water is 85 min. in the BWB.
If you will follow the method for hot pack and use the crushed tomato method they won't float so badly.
It is when you raw pack you get the most floating.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:54PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Is there a way to stop food from floating up in the jar after it is processed?

Not really however using hot pack methods rather than raw pack methods - when applicable - produces less floating. Longer pre-cooking of the fruits and vegetables prior to jarring - again when applicable - also helps expel additional air from the food and reduce floating.

Pickles can't be cooked all that long of course so tight jar packing is about all you can do. I watched a "How It's Made" show on pickling the other night and the commercial assembly line workers were packing jars of hamburger dill slices. They were using a hard wooden mallet tool the diameter of the jar opening to literally smash and cram those slices into the jars. Watching that I decided I can live with a bit of floating. ;)

But either way some floating is expected and normally as the food absorbs liquid it sinks deeper back into the jars.

But note that floating food in a jar full of liquid isn't the same thing as floating food in a jar that has lost liquid due to siphoning. The first is no problem, the second can be so it is important to learn fine control of the PC to eliminate the siphoning problem.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:47PM
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dillydee8930(6)

Just want to know, how come you do not need to add citric acid to ( i believe by katie) the roasted tomato garlic soup, but you need to add it to other tomato products, whole tomatoes etc? also you just blend this right? one more question.............how about taking the skins off the tomatoes before you roast them? i think it would move things along once they are done (i am not using any oil, i think the tomatoes have enough juice to roast just fine without the added oil. just a thought.
thank you so much! just have to know as i am in the process off making this soup now.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:06PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

You can try removing the skins if you like. That would be a personal preference.

KatieC's Roasted Tomato Garlic soup is pressure-canned, allowing not just for the tomatoes but the bit of oil and chicken broth. It's entirely different from canning just tomatoes, which can be water bathed.

If you're using citric acid powder, all you need to do is put the appropriate amount in the bottom of the jar before you add tomatoes. It will blend in during processing.

Carol

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:43PM
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dillydee8930(6)

thank you Carol! I have been going by the ball blue book where tomatoes are pressure canned 25 minutes quarts or pints.(10 pounds pressure)and it calls for citric acid (lemon juice) that is why i am wondering why no citric acid in this roasted tomato garlic soup recipe, which btw is fine with me i would not be making it if it was called for, i took all the skins off and am now roasting (smells good!) :) i just feel more organized taking the skins off first. maybe because i feel overwhelmed, tomatoes are up, corn, black raspberries, cukes, ......what to do with all those cukes, the squash wont stop growing! lol, peaches, sweet green peppers....ugg. but very thankfull. :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:56PM
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aberwacky_ar7b(Southern Ozarks, AR z7a)

The roasted tomato garlic soup recipe (which is delicious) is made to be PRESSURE CANNED, and can't be processed in a boiling water bath. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

Have fun with all your veggies! What a great bounty, but I hear you on the ugg--it can be too much of a good thing!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:19PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Ignore anything but the specific instructions for the Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup. I know you're stressed with too much to do and probably over-thinking. KatieC works for Extension in Idaho and is a Master Food Preserver. She wouldn't suggest anything unsafe.

For the soup, process pints 60 minutes and quarts 70 minutes. For dial gauge canners use 11 lbs. pressure at 0-2000 ft., 12 lbs. at 2001-4000 ft., 13 lbs. at 4001- 6000 ft., and 14 lbs. over 6000 ft. For weighted gauge canners use 10 lbs. pressure at 0-1000 ft. and 15 lbs. over 1000 ft.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:52PM
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dillydee8930(6)

Yes i know this is pressure canned, thank you, that is just where i got confused about the citric acid as i pressure can tomatoes and it always calls for citric acid so was just wondering why not this recipe, but i think it is the processing time, correct? i followed the recipe to a tee readinglady except..............i took the skins off of the tomatoes before roasting. also can i add a bit of canning salt to this?
thank you all again you have been very kind!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes you can add salt to taste.

But this comment of yours confuses me: I have been going by the ball blue book where tomatoes are pressure canned 25 minutes quarts or pints.(10 pounds pressure)and it calls for citric acid (lemon juice)

I assume you understand that the BB also provides instructions for doing tomatoes in BWB, right? Pressure canning them is just an option, it is not required.

Otherwise, your confusion likely comes from trying to compare recipes with different ingredients and very different processing times ( ie: 25 mins. vs. 60 mins). Trying to compare recipes can be a cause of GREAT confusion, especially for those new to canning, which is why doing so is discouraged. A good general rule is "Never try to generalize from one recipe to another." Not only is it confusing but it isn't safe to do so.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:53PM
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dillydee8930(6)

Sorry Dave i think i am trying to do to much! i am saying i thought any thing canned with tomatoes,( soups, and of course tomatoes themselves) weather pressure canned or in a boiling water bath had to have citric acid added in. so when the roasted garlic soup recipe came up i got confused. but am so glad i asked as i have learned something.
thank-you
i like to pressure can my whole tomatoes or stewed tomatoes etc, as it is less processing time, and less water. :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:10PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Hey, it's great you asked. We don't mind. I think all of us know of times when we were tired and trying to do too many things at once, especially at the height of canning season.

You can always add salt to taste to pickles, relishes, soups, sauces, meats. Whatever might call for it.

You can also safely add dried (not fresh) herbs and seasonings, so dried peppers, oregano, basil, dried garlic flakes, etc. are all possibilities.

Just be careful not to overdo it because some herbs and flavorings get stronger after the product has sat on the shelf a while.

Happy preserving,

Carol

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:17PM
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dillydee8930(6)

Thank you Carol, i did not know that, this helps me a great deal. need to go my soup is calling me. :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 7:04PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

i am saying i thought any thing canned with tomatoes,( soups, and of course tomatoes themselves) weather pressure canned or in a boiling water bath had to have citric acid added in

Nope. You'll find several approved tomato recipes that don't require acid to be added. That's why we try really hard here to not generalize - it only confuses folks. ;)

But yeah this time of year is zooey and it gets worse - or better - depending on how you look at it. It's the best time of the year!

In addition to Carol's "always" notes above - you can always go to smaller jars than the recipe calls for but you cannot go to bigger jars. And if you use smaller jars you still process for the time required in the recipe.

You can always substitute BOTTLED lemon or lime juice (not fresh) for vinegar but you canNOT sub vinegar for the juices in a recipe.

You can always sub cider vinegar for white vinegar and vice versa but you canNOT always sub other types of vinegar.

Just take your time and don't try to learn everything the first 3 months.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 7:11PM
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dillydee8930(6)

Thank you Dave , you got to my question i confusingly was trying to ask lol, i also did not know you could substitute bottled lemon or lime juice for vinegar thanks again.
i am more relaxed now, last batch of that delicious soup in the caner,i did black raspberries this morning, cucumbers tomorrow yeah!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 9:08PM
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gardenvt

I freeze my tomatoes after roasting them. The Food Saver is easy to use and food keeps for a very long time.

I blanch or cook all of my veggies before freezing. Eggplant is great if cooked and then frozen. And who doesn't like roasted corn in the middle of the winter?

This is my simple method of preserving the harvest.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:59AM
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aberwacky_ar7b(Southern Ozarks, AR z7a)

I got back into canning about 10 years ago after an ice storm knocked out power for 10 days and I lost all my harvest in the freezers. I still do freeze some, but can a lot, too, as a backup--especially tomatoes, which I don't like frozen nearly as much as canned.

I love my foodsaver--it's wonderful for meats, especially. DH harvests deer every year (this is the harvest forum, right? LOL) and my foodsaver gets a workout every fall.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:04AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

bump to save

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:54PM
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huntnlady

This is my third year canning but up until this season I've mostly canned green beans, corn and peppers. I canned some tomatoes in a pressure canner, I followed instructions precisely, I'm not brave enough to deviate from instructions at all. When processing time was up and I removed the jars, the tomatoes were very, VERY dark and seeds were black. I cannot figure out what happened. I tried another batch in hot water bath, 4 of the 6 jars had done the same thing The other 3 were somewhat dark but not like the others. Last year I canned a couple dozen jars of tomatoes & salsa and they didn't turn dark like this. When they cooled enough to safely handle I opened a jar they smelled "normal" but I tossed them out, I'm afraid of taking any chances when it comes to canning. Have any of you heard of this problem? I've searched everywhere and cannot find where anyone else has had this happen. Help! I'm desperate for an answer!

This post was edited by HuntnLady on Fri, Aug 29, 14 at 2:57

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:31AM
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huntnlady

I'm obsessing about my canned tomatoes, I've been online searching for an answer. I even got out of bed to take a picture.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:57AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What were the varieties of the tomatoes? Some varieties produce a darker color when heated.

If some of your BWB canned ones also turned dark then it is something put inside the jars that caused it, not the pressure canning.

So which set of instructions did you use and what did you put into the jars in detail?

Dave

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:47AM
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huntnlady

I use the instructions in the Presto book that came with the canner. had two batches do that, the first were processed in a PC and the other a HWB, both were Roma tomatoes. I think some were another variety of Roma because they were bowling pin shaped. The only thing I added was store bought lemon juice and I accidently used Kosher salt instead of canning. I had almost forgotten the salt, the boxes of Kosher and Canning salt were right next to each other. In a hurry, I grabbed the wrong one

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 2:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

HuntnLady - sent you a long email. See if any of it helps.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 3:18PM
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huntnlady

Thank you Dave, but i was unable to view the email. It came with my text quoted and the rest at two attachments. I downloaded them but they didn't open.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 1:07PM
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