Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Petite Diced Tomatoes for Canning

What's the best tomato variety for canning: Roma Tomatoes - Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces since its introduction in 1955, Roma Tomatoes produce a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy. This is not a slicing tomato. Instead, the flesh is thick and drier so that it will cook down into a thick sauce. Cooking intensifies flavor, too. If you can tomatoes, make your own spaghetti sauce, or like to chop a tomato into an omelet, this is a great choice. It's not too juicy in the pan compared to slicing tomatoes. The fruit freezes well for later cooking, too.

Did you know?  One medium tomato (approximately 123 grams) provides 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein. 

Alpha-lipoic acid helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Some evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid can aid in blood glucose control, improve vasodilation and protect against retinopathy in diabetic patients and may even help preserve brain and nerve tissue.
Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their rich red color. Tomatoes account for 80 percent of lycopene consumption.

Choline is an important nutrient found in tomatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. (Source: Medical News Today).

15-16 large Roma Tomatoes
12 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
3 tsp. salt (optional)


Core Roma tomatoes, blanch, plunge into ice water and peel. Dice a few into petite-sized pieces to equal 2-3 cups, and softly boil them in a large sauce pan on your stove top, using a potato masher to mash them as the become soft.  

While maintaining a gentle boil, and stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, dice additional tomatoes and add to the saucepan as you work. Continue until all tomatoes are added, then boil gently for 5 minutes.

Add 2 tbls. lemon juice per jar, and pack cooked tomatoes into jars leaving a 1/2-inch head-space. Remove air bubbles and top each jar with 1/2 tsp. salt if desired.

Cover jars with lids and seals and process pints 35 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner. Remove jars and allow to cool on a kitchen towel on your counter-top for 24 undisturbed. Store in pantry up to 1 year.

Yield:  6 pint (16 oz.) jars


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