first year canning - cold or hot pack tomatoes?

callousedknees(z5 IN)August 18, 2006

This is my first year canning... so far I have made 12 pts. of bread and butter jalapenoes, 12 half pts. of 5 pepper jelly, and the most popular 11 qts. and 7 pts. of Annie's famous salsa. Everything has turned out great but the jelly that hasn't set yet. All of you have been so much help to me. I'm getting ready to do tomatoes and I want to know the pros and cons of cold packing them vs. hot pack. I am going to follow the directions at the NCHFP as suggested, but wondered what your opinions are. Thank you so much for all your help!

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I prefer to cold pack the tomatoes in their own juice and HWB. I have two canners so I don't mind that it takes 90 minutes. My end product looks much better than the tomatoes which were pressured canned. The tomatoes settle to the bottom of the jar. With the HWB'd, the jars are full with little space on top and there is maybe a half inch of juice on the bottom. The jars look much nicer. I do add the lemon juice to both.
Here is how I prep mine. I do at least enough tomatoes for 7 quarts at a time.
I blanch 12 tomatoes at a time and set my timer for 1min20 sec. Remove to a very large bowl. I blanch all the tomatoes first. When finished blanching I start peeling and cutting the tomatoes into quarters into a 12 qt. colander which sets in a large bowl. When all are peeled and cut I empty the juice from the bowl and put it in a sauce pot with about 10 tomatoes cut into smaller pieces and divide this amongst the 7 quarts which already contain the salt and lemon juice. I then fill with the quartered tomatoes.
I then free the bubbles and proceed with the lids.
It may be a little more work, but the jars look nice and full.
Hot packing is OK and you can cut down on the processing time in the HWB but the finished product is somewhat mushy.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 7:37PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

When I packed my whole tomatoes, they floated and the amber watery liquid was at the bottoms..

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:06PM
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callousedknees(z5 IN)

Thank you shirleywny... I just had a 12 qt. Mirro pressure canner given to me and I was thinking about using it, but maybe I'll stick with HWB. I have the instruction book for my canner, but it doesn't tell how much water to put in for a 12 qt. Does anyone know the answer?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:09PM
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I hot pack my tomatoes because I seem to get less "float" that way.

A couple of years ago I gave in and started pressure canning them. The 90 minutes just got me.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:15PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

In any pressure canner, you put 2-3 inches of water in the bottom.
I normally raw pack them, and then pressure can.Sometimes I hot pack. I do mine in pints, and I can stack the jars in my pressure canners. I have two of them, so I can get done a lot faster. I also put the lemon juice or citric acid and salt in the bottom of the jars, then pack in the tomatoes, etc. before pressure canning. I don't care what they look like in the end, to be honest. I just like getting them done. If they were a gift, or going to the fair, then I would care more.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:36PM
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girlsingardens(zone 5 NE)

I cold pack and pressure can my tomatoes, That is after I had 2 dozen canned crushed tomatoes go bad on me and didn't find them for some time.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:46PM
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callousedknees(z5 IN)

Thanks everyone. I guess it's a choice between time and appearance. I'm with linda lou... I think I'll go with the shorter time and just get them done. I'd love to have beautiful jars of tomatoes, but I've got enough to do! I'm a mom of ten... seven at home and I think I'm going to cold pack and pressure can. Maybe when I've got some time I'll try to make some pretty ones. Wonder when that will be?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 10:11PM
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You are absolutely right about the jars not having to look pretty. My pretty looking jars are the ones I give away. And I give away lots. The not so pretty ones I keep for myself. I must have some type of complex. I don't care to hot pack as I don't like adding water to the tomatoes as they seem to be watery enough.
Bless your heart for doing all that work with seven youngins around. I had four in my house and I didn't think about how nice my jars looked. Now it's just me and my husband and he spends the better part of every day hitting a little white ball into a hole in the ground.
Canning is so much more fun and a lot less boring.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 5:44AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Shirley, you don't have to add water to the hot packed tomatoes, you peel, then put in a pan and heat. It is listed as crushed tomatoes (with no added liquid), you crush a few of them, then add the rest of the tomatoes. They make their own juice. Then, you pack the jars with the hot tomatoes and their own juice.
There is another recipe to add water, but I agree on that, I sure don't want to put water in my tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 6:25PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Spoiled tomatoes?? I would expect that they may have spoiled if the seals were bad, under processed, or the most important, adding the very necessary extra acid. I use citric acid here, and have not had a single jar of my home canned tomatoes ever spoil (well over 300 quart jars so far). Even for that, the jars are filled while the tomatoes are boiling, and the process is done in my 'infamous' steam canner..

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 11:16PM
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Linda Lou,

The Ball Blue book says to put whole tomatoes in jars and add boiling water. The other hot pack method says to place tomatoes in a large pot and cover with water and boil 5 minutes. The third is to can in own juice, which is the recipe I use. I don't care for the crush my tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 5:40AM
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Ive canned a few years MY FAVORITES ROMAS i use lemon juice and salt and water bath as well ONE THING I DO DO is get cheap tomatojuice in acan at aldis the big ones add it to my romas AND TALK ABOUT BEAUTIFUL JARS!!!!!!! sure doesnt take much either Romas stay nice and firm instead of mush!!!!!!!!!!!! Working on a afew canners now

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 1:58PM
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Anyone done stewed tomatoes in Pressure Canner?

I just did; precooked the tomatoes 30 minutes then packed and cooked at 11 lbs for 35 mins. Result is that the tomato pulp absorbed the liquid and consequently all settled in a mass from the 2 inch below the lid level. The top is space. Jars are sealed and have taken the screw lids off. So far no open jars. Please comment here as well as to my email address:

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 7:52PM
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I have canned for 43 years now about a 1,000 jars a year, till a few years ago. You name it I have canned it. My Mother in law ( she had 9 kids) taught me a way of canning that I have not seen before, never loose a jar. Every thing is standard for preparing the jars and tomatoes. In a stainless steel pot (Salvation Army size)the tomatoes, I just cut them up bring to a boil stir and boil for 20 min skim off foam and while still boiling put them into hot jars wipe rim and seal, then on to the next, never turning the heat down. If you like them thicker cook a little longer. I use 1 T salt 1 T. sugar for quarts. I always take off the rims wash them they last for years. Right or wrong works for me.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:02PM
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That's the way my family has done it for years, the only difference that we do is the lids. We cook the tomatoes the same way and put them in the jar hot. But the lids and rings are put in boiling water in a small sauce pan, taken out and put on the jars with tongs(not as hard as it sounds) Screw them down tightly using a towel to protect your hands. We put them on a table covered by a towel to hold the heat and check after they have cooled(a few hours later). Press the tops if they don't pop they have sealed correctly. Take the rings off an use on the next batch(money saver). These will be good for years to come. I am 40years old and my grandmother taught us and she is 87 this year. Easiest and quickest way to can and tomatoes you will be proud to give to anyone.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:17PM
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