Return to the Harvest Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
canning with split tomatoes

Posted by coopnabucket (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 5, 10 at 16:40

I've never canned tomatoes before and i was hoping to do so this year, but most of my tomatoes split open and my canning book says to never use tomatoes that have split. Does anyone can safely using split tomatoes?
thanks, Hannah


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Split tomatoes are much more prone to bacteria and fungus contamination, so no they are not recommended for canning. You can freeze them if you wish after cutting out the bad parts, but not can. The risk of contamination is too high.

Better to eliminate the cause of your splitting so you can harvest usable fruit. You'll find many discussions about the causes of splitting and how to prevent it over on the Tomatoes forum here. It is basically a water issue and can easily be avoided by picking the fruit at blush stage and finishing ripening indoors as most growers do. At the very least, any fruit showing any color at all should be picked prior to watering the plants or when rain is expected.

Dave


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Does that count for canning whole diced tomatoes only? I was wondering if it is ok to cut off the split part for tomatoes that are used for sauce (canning), since the sauce simmers for so long. If not, I'll freeze that sauce. I've figured out what I've done wrong with my tomatoes, so next year will be better.


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Technically it counts for all tomato recipes that will be canned. The goal when canning for shelf storage is to have only the best quality and safest food go into the jar. That is why we begin with the best quality, why we peel potatoes, peel carrots, remove the skins from tomatoes, etc. - to eliminate up front as much of the bacteria as pssible.

Simmering, no matter how long you do it, doesn't kill bacteria so any bacteria remaining in the sauce would just continue to grow while in the jars on the shelf. If the quality of the food is questionable to begin with but you still want to keep it then freeze it instead.

Dave


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

I will do that. Thanks, Dave.


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

'At the very least, any fruit showing any color at all should be picked prior to watering the plants or when rain is expected'... Oh Dave - I can tell you don't live in the UK!

Regarding using split tomatoes. I can see it's not good to use them for canning whole. But what is the opinion on using them to make sauce and then canning that?


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Just my opinion:

I read that in the Ball Blue Book and thought it ridiculous. I always use all my tomatoes. A little split is nothing to me. If I threw out my imperfect tomatoes I would have nothing to can. I do trim off bad parts obviously. But I keep the good parts. I will also can leaving the skins on. less work.

If the pH of the tomato is below 4.0 then everything is just fine and dandy. A pH below 4.0 kills off all micro organisms that might be a problem including botulism which is the hard one. You can always put a dab of vinegar or lemon juice into a jar of tomatoes to reduce the pH.


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

'At the very least, any fruit showing any color at all should be picked prior to watering the plants or when rain is expected'... Oh Dave - I can tell you don't live in the UK!

Regarding using split tomatoes. I can see it's not good to use them for canning whole. But what is the opinion on using them to make sauce and then canning that?

Hi Flora ;) - nope not living in the UK with your rainy weather. But blush picking in the US is a common recommendation if not pretty much a standard practice. Now the part about before rain is expected would be difficult for you I know. :) Same for those in the Pacific NW.

As to the opinions on sauce vs. whole, as I said above, the guidelines on using damaged fruit applies to all forms of canning tomatoes. Clearly it's your choice to follow them or not and I'm realistic enough to know that many see and follow all the various shades of gray in them.

gardendawgie - what you choose to do is your choice and thank you for stating that was just your opinion.

But for the benefit of other readers please post accurate information rather than doing the dis-service of mis-informing them.

There are no tomatoes with a pH below 4.0.

A pH of 4.0 does NOT kill micro organisms it merely prevents further growth. This includes c. botulinum.

And home canned tomato guidelines call for 2 T of lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. of citric acid for each quart of tomatoes, NOT "a dab of vinegar or lemon juice".

Dave


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

I am certainly not entering into the whole dab of vinegar fray here--I fall squarely on the side of adding all the required lemon juice/citric acid to tomatoes. an aside--I can't taste the lemon juice and my husband just this year realized that I have been adding lemon juice ever since I started canning and he never tasted it either.

The picking tomatoes at blush thing, though; I can't imagine. Here in Sacramento, even the commercial growers don't pick at blush (though their tomatoes ARE like little bullets, but that is another discussion). Sort of defeats the purpose of yummy "vine ripened" tomatoes. And we have to irrigate at least three times a week, but we still can grow to vine redness. Everyone will do what they have to to get a harvest, but to give up on vine ripened seems so sad. . .

Sharon


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Sharon, I live in Northern Michigan and the only time I pick at "blush" is when frost is imminent. Otherwise I let them ripen on the vine and take the casualties in stride. I get a few splits, but not a great number.

I managed to get 4 bushels of tomatoes so far off my 60+ plants, that's minus the cracks and the BER. Some are small and some are shaped weird, but they all go into the pot, and if I have a small bad spot, I cut it out along with a goodly amount around it, but I don't toss the whole tomato because of it. Tomatoes with BER, those I toss. Even if I cut off a small spot, I can taste it through the entire tomato, ugh.

I don't like the lemon juice in tomatoes and my mother is allergic to lemons, so I add the citric acid. Dad thought they were "too sour" so I also used to add a tablespoon of sugar. I don't bother to do that anymore.

And just when I thought I was done with tomato products, Elery just had to buy half a bushel of San Marzanos at a local roadsice stand. Sigh. I don't grow them because I think they taste like nothing, so I guess I'm canning catsup tonight. At least it'll taste like the spices I put in it!

Annie


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Hi Annie,

Barbeque sauce, too, if you use it. Lots of spice, not so much tomato taste. Especially if you like jalapenos in your barbeque sauce.

Sorry to "hear" about your finger. We had a car door crush fracture with one of our older twins when she was 3. It was a major pain, pun intended. LOL

Sharon


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

  • Posted by djonesc zone 6/98901/yakima, (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 11, 10 at 13:44

i don't do the lemon juice thing, because i hate the taste of *real lemon* lemon juice and i never have lemons around and don't hardly remember to buy them when i'm going to cal ... LOL ... in a book i have been canning by for about 25 years, it tells you to add 2 TBS. vinegar to each quart ... i have been doing that, my daughters who can do that and no one in all our large family has ever been able to tell it's been added ....

ascorbic acid: i did that when i lived in british columbia, but not for a very long time ....

vinegar and cutting out/leaving a large margin around the bad spots is what i do ... i follow the time for the boiling water bath and i feel, my opinion, that we are safe ....

darlene


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

I have never canned tomatoes before either. Thanks all, for the information on this thread.

I have a newbie question.
So is it ok to pick blushing tomatoes, let them ripen indoors and can them later on? Last yr I picked them green and froze them as they ripened.
I have 12 healthy plants with the outer leaves frost bitten. We have had frost 3 times so far. All my toms are shiny green or turning yellow...and 3 toms are blushing.
I assumed they had to be vine ripened to can.

Oh, also, about how many tennis ball size toms do you need for a quart jar. I will BWB them with lemon juice or citric acid following the BBB method.

Thank you and thanks again Dave for your helpful info.


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

i don't do the lemon juice thing, because i hate the taste of *real lemon* lemon juice and i never have lemons around and don't hardly remember to buy them when i'm going to cal ... LOL ... in a book i have been canning by for about 25 years, it tells you to add 2 TBS. vinegar to each quart ... i have been doing that, my daughters who can do that and no one in all our large family has ever been able to tell it's been added ....

That is your choice, your personal risk to take, but for the benefit of others you need to at least acknowledge that it isn't an approved method. And the instructions call for 4T of vinegar, not 2.

To quote:

Acidification: To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes. For pints, use one tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid. Acid can be added directly to the jars before filling with product. Add sugar to offset acid taste, if desired. Four tablespoons of a 5 percent acidity vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. However, vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes.

So is it ok to pick blushing tomatoes, let them ripen indoors and can them later on? Last yr I picked them green and froze them as they ripened.
I have 12 healthy plants with the outer leaves frost bitten. We have had frost 3 times so far. All my toms are shiny green or turning yellow...and 3 toms are blushing.
I assumed they had to be vine ripened to can.

2 different issues. Fruit from frost-killed vines isn't supposed to be used for canning - they are more alkaline than normal. Guidelines are clear on that part.

Picking at blush was simply offered to the OP as a way to prevent splitting during the regular season and it's not frost related. It is a discussion which isn't really relevant to this forum but is often recommended and discussed on the Growing Tomatoes forum here. You'll find lots of info on it and the advantages to doing it discussed there.

Dave


 o
RE: canning with split tomatoes

Thanks Dave!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Harvest Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here