Pressure Canning tomatoes-good taste?

rathdrumidAugust 20, 2010

Hello everyone,

I took a canning class last night from a master preserver and she said pressure canned tomatoes/salsa didn't not taste very good. We need to use about 12 pounds of pressure at our altitude and she believed that amount of heat does bad things to the taste of tomatoes.

I'm really sad about this since i just bought a pressure canner and it should be on my doorstep today!

what is your experience with pressure canning tomatoes and tomato products? (sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, juice...)

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Oh I would have to strongly disagree. We find we much prefer pressure canned tomatoes be they plain, salsa, and even sauces. We do it both ways - PC and BWB - but PC is so much faster.

But are you above 8000 feet? If not there are lower pressures you can use, you just add a bit more time - like 5 mins. For examples see the chart linked below.

Are you using a gauge only canner or a weighted-gauge canner?

Dave

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

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 8:23PM
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dinkans(6)

I too prefer canned tomato products. But I'm curious as to why you think it's faster to use a PC. . .(see "I NEED HELP"). . .My canned tomato sauce, V8 Juice and picante sauce are all family favorites, and it's hard for me to prepare a meal without them!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Dave, that is for tomatoes packed in WATER in the jars. I don't know of anyone who does that.
The best quality of tomatoes is the hot, crushed pack in the pressure canner. Of course, bottle lemon juice is still required even when pressure canning.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:48PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes I know Linda Lou. I only gave it as an example of the different pressures and processing time allowed for different altitudes. The OP doesn't have to use 12 lbs. in other words although 12 lbs. wouldn't hurt. I'm wondering now if what the MFP meant was that canned tomatoes, no matter how they are processed, won't taste like fresh. But that is a given. I just can't see why any MFP would make that statement otherwise.

But the same variables hold true for any of the methods - to different degrees. Look at the weight/time variances allowed for the crushed tomatoes.

__________________

But I'm curious as to why you think it's faster to use a PC

Because the processing time are so much less than with a BWB. A quart of crushed tomatoes in a BWB is 45-60 mins. depending on altitude. In a weighted-gauge pressure canner that same quart only takes 10-20 mins. depending on altitude.

(see "I NEED HELP")

I did and as I said in that thread, there is something wrong with your canner. Or with the way it is being used (too much water in it, too high a heat on the stove, plugged or partially blocked exhaust valve, inaccurate weight, inaccurate gauge, etc.) if as you say it takes literally hours to cool down to zero pressure. 45 mins. to an hour max. is the norm. My large All American takes 45 mins because it is so heavy but the 23 qt. Presto is easily back to zero with 20-30 mins.

Why not contact the manufacturer and see if they have some suggestions for how to solve the problem, how to trouble-shoot the problems, or if they can suggest a local repair service or parts that may need to be replaced.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Crushed tomatoes chart

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:53PM
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sharonann1

My elevation is exactly 342 feet, (we found a USGS marker in our yard, how cool is that?), and last year I pressure canned some of my tomatoes and water bathed some depending on what else was going on that day.

I have to agree with the Master Preserver. Even at 10lbs weighted gauge, we found that all variations of tomatoes done in the PC canner had a much darker hue and a slightly bitter, caramalized, almost burned-type taste that was missing in the water bathed tomatoes.

We are going back to water bathing despite the longer processing times, which aren't really that much longer for some things when you account for the 10 minute exhaust and the depressurization.

I have never heard anything but praise for PC tomatoes, but I was disappointed. It was not that much of a time saver and my product was not better tasting in side by side comparisons.

Sharon

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 2:36AM
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robinkateb(z4 VT)

Linda Lou, Funny that you say that about the tomatoes canned in water. I was really surprised this summer to see a blog post suggesting the method to others. Seemed like a great way to have watery tomatoes to me.

-Robin

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes canned in water

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 4:50PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I wonder why in the world does that gal have a roast sitting there like that in the sink with the tomatoes ?
Never ceases to amaze me what people do.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:13PM
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robinkateb(z4 VT)

LOL, I never even noticed that. Even more amazing given that I assume she was paid for that post.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Meanwhile back to the original question -

I find it unusual that no one else has commented on pressure canned tomatoes - the original question - besides Sharon and I. Does no one else ever PC their tomatoes? I know you do because it has been discussed before.

I also find it difficult to believe that I am the only one here who finds pressure canned tomatoes to be superior to those done in a BWB? Even NCHFP/USDA says that the PC results in a better quality product.

In all the years of pressure canning tomatoes, salsas, and tomato juice I have yet to end up with a single jar, regardless of the recipe used, that was darker in color, bitter, caramelized in taste, or anything else undesirable. They separate and/or float, sure, just as any jarred tomatoes do, but they settle with time. They are bright in color and as fresh tasting as any canned tomatoes can be.

So either I, at 900 feet altitude and with my little container of magic citric acid dust, am the purveyor of some sort of tomato canning miracle or the MFP's comments shared in the original post are simply unsubstantiated.

what is your experience with pressure canning tomatoes and tomato products? (sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, juice...)

Rather than debating the issue of in water vs. crushed vs. in juice how about some comments helpful to the OP on the quality of pressure canned vs. BWB canned tomato products?

Dave

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:24AM
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wcthomas

I pressure can my salsa at 15 lbs for 25 minutes, and it taste great. In fact I find no difference in taste from the days of water bath canning.

TomNJ

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 9:26AM
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caboodle(9A)

Most of my family members water bath their tomatoes, but I always pressure can mine. I don't do whole tomatoes very often, but I find many, many uses for crushed or stewed, so that's how I do most of mine. I don't find them bitter or caramelized, but ymmv.

Judi

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:57AM
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rathdrumid

thank you everyone! I'm at 2500 feet and got a Presto gauge pressure canner. It should be here today. Does 12 pounds of pressure sound correct?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:01PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

rathdrumid - as I mentioned above before we got off-track, various pressures can be used but the time just changes.

EX: If you do crushed tomatoes in a in a dial-gauge pressure canner (which is what you have until you buy the 3 piece weight set for it) at your altitude you can use 20 mins at 7 lbs. or 15 mins at 12 lbs. See chart.

If you do Whole or Halved Tomatoes (packed raw without added liquid) you can use 40 mins @ 7 lbs. See chart.

So while you sure can use 12 lbs. you don't have to.

Hope this helps.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:55PM
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macybaby

I am pressure canning most of my tomatoes this year. Though it's a bit misleading to think PC is much faster. My AA canner takes about 10 mn to get to venting, then you vent for 10 mn, then it takes about 10 mn to get up to pressure, then you process the required time, then it takes about 30-45 mns to cool down(depending on ambient temps), then you wait 10 mn to remove the jars.

So the way I figure the total time is to add about an hour and a half to the processing time, and that is the total time "lock down" to removing the jars with PC.

I've found in most cases, pressure canning takes more time in total than BWB when that is usable.

On another note - My Ball complete book has this to say about the subject "Processing tomatoes in a pressure canner may produce a more nutritious and higher-quality product because the tomatoes are heated to a higher temperature but are processed for a shorter period of time. The longer food is exposed to heat, the greater the loss of nutrients and overall product quality"

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 11:20AM
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calliope(6)

I strongly suspect the 'bitter almost caramel' quality of tomatoes happens in the processing BEFORE they ever go into either a pressure or BWB canner. That's happened occasionally to me over decades of canning, and I've found it mostly when simmering down sauces for catsup or canned spaghetti sauce. I did one run of canned sauce this year, and put the tomatoes to simmer down in high power crockpots. They were fine at bedtime, but by morning, they had cooked too long and although none were stuck to the sides or burnt, they all had that nasty burnt tomato taste.

It can also happend when heating up tomatoes for a hot pack can. Failure to stir or too high a heat will scorch the bottom layer. I would almost bet there was a black burnt-on spot in the kettle.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 11:35AM
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annie1992

I don't really find pressure canning to be faster, by the time you vent, process and then let the pressure release.

I do think PC canned tomatoes taste just fine, I've done tomatoes both ways and can't see much of a difference in taste or texture, truthfully.

Annie

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 11:37AM
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sharonann1

Just to clarify, as I was testing PC vs. WBC of tomatoes, I did taste test the tomatoes before and after canning them to check for salt, sugar, etc.

They were not burned or carmalized tasting before PC canning, nor after water bath canning. Only after PC canning at 10lbs pressure.

Sharon

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Rathdrumid, I hope you are NOT using that dial gauge until it has been tested. Even a new gauge must be tested for accuracy before use. They are often as much as 4 lb. off right out of the box.
Then, it has to be safety tested each year before use.
That is why so many are buyin the optional 23 piece weight set and using it as a weighted gauge canner. Presto part 50332.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 1:33PM
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janbates123

I an at 3800 ft altitude...i have tried numerous batches of tomatoes, sauces, salsas, etc....all tast burnt...what a dissapointment....had a recipie for baked beans that called for tomatoe juice. the beans were great in appearance and thickness etc. but had a burnt taste...processing at 15 points for 75 minutes....how could i change this?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:14AM
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kriswrite(zone 8)

I often can tomatoes in water. The flavor really isn't much different from canning them in their own juice/crushed tomatoes without water. I prefer to WB them. It's faster and I cannot taste a difference between tomatoes that are WB or PC.

I'd say the biggest difference in taste is always the type of tomato that was used. Personally, I always find home canned tomatoes taste MUCH better than store bought.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 5:59PM
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donperkins(MS z7b)

I pressure canned tomatoes last year & they taste just exactly how Sharon described that hers taste. Terrible! Dark & burned tasting. Messed up a whole seasons worth of tomatoes with the pressure canner. Are the tomatoes any good? Any way to doctor them up? What did I do wrong?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 1:28AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have only done some WBC tomato sauce. It is fast and easy.

-- water in the canner pots is boiling.
-- the sauce has been taken off the heat, and still warm/hot
-- Fill the jars,(wipe clean, put lids on,
-- place them in the water bath(boiling already)
- close it, let is simmer, as requires
-- shut the heat off. Let it cool

All the WBC does is to create an eventual vacuum seal. Otherwise, the sauce is cooked and it is sufficiently acidic.
i

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 3:53AM
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2ajsmama

I have probably a bushel of mixed tomatoes (mostly paste types) now that market is ended. I did make slightly over 3 quarts of sauce last weekend, but next time will cook in my big Nesco roaster instead of 6qt Dutch oven so that I end up with a full canner load instead of slightly over 3 qts. I also haven't practiced with my new PC yet so just used it to BWB the quarts and it took over an hour to come to a boil on my glasstop stove, and half that to come back to a boil after putting the jars of hot sauce in. Since the PC uses so much less water, I think that it would take less time to boil, vent, and come to pressure, and definitely less time to process compared to BWBing quarts.

I'm not sure I want more sauce, was thinking after I practice with the PC and colored water, just PCing whole or crushed tomatoes. But wondering if taste is better using lower pressure and longer time, or higher pressure and shorter time?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 8:58AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

wondering if taste is better using lower pressure and longer time, or higher pressure and shorter time?

I don't notice any difference. The effects are basically the same. But I find it much easier to do the higher pressure and shorter longer time. Folks have enough trouble stabilizing their heat to pressure ratio to get 10 lbs. much less trying to do it for 5 or 6 lbs. Plus you can do other things with them at 10 lbs. Nothing much else you can do at 5 lbs.

Might be of benefit for those at high altitudes but not much for those @1000' or less.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 4:19PM
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2ajsmama

Thanks Dave. So given a glasstop stove with a burner that cycles (and I will practice/experiment with water first to see what pressures I can maintain for what times), would you say it's best to do 10 lbs for x minutes (in chart, depends on recipe) or 15 lbs for shorter time (if that's an option). I won't plan on doing anything at 5 lbs (I am just under 1000ft). FWIW, once the water got back to boiling over the quart jars I BWBed, it did stay boiling for 40 minutes, but I left the burner on High, didn't turn it down like I usually do with my SS stockpot and pints/halfpints. But DH was afraid when I was doing pints (edit - sorry, QUARTS!) and had had the burner on High for 2 hours that it was going to shut off or pop the breaker (it did happen once a year or so ago).

This post was edited by ajsmama on Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 21:55

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 4:33PM
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