Enjoy your fresh tomatoes all year long. Easy as 1, 2, 3…
It’s that time of year again, you look out in your garden and you see those tasty red bundles of flavor all throughout your garden. Who doesn’t enjoy garden fresh tomatoes and the best way to enjoy your fresh tomatoes year around is to turn them into an amazing tomato sauce. It is so easy to do when you have the right tools. Even if you haven’t grown enough yourself, there are plenty of farmer’s markets you can go to and pick up your tomato supply.
Once you have your tomatoes, you will need a few more items and you are off to the races. Make sure you have a quality Tomato Milling Machine from OMRA, Italy’s number one brand. You will also need a Repal stainless steel Stock Pot, a Catering Line Jumbo Wooden Paddle and a Piatto Pieno Canning Funnel, some canning jars, boiling water canner and of course your favorite tomato recipe.
Step 1: Clean Jars
Before you can get to the tomatoes it is best to ensure that the jars they will go into are clean and ready for use.
- First wash them in hot soapy water and then rinse them.
- Take a pot and place the jars in it and then cover them in water then heat them till they simmer at a medium heat.
- Let the jars simmer away for about 10 minutes then just keep them hot in the pot until they are ready to be used.
- For the lids simply fill a bowl from the same pot the jars are in and place the lids within. Do not boil the lids.
Step 2: Milling the Tomatoes
With an OMRA Tomato squeezer also known as a tomato press or a tomato strainer you can either use fresh tomatoes or you can blanch first. Be sure to soak the tomatoes in ice water after blanching them. Next you MUST properly prepare the tomato milling machine.
- To begin it is recommended to first coat the screen with olive oil to provide the initial lubrication for the rest of the process.
- Fill the hopper with a disposable food such as stale bread with more olive oil and run the mix through the machine until all of the food is processed. This is to remove any excess coating from previous uses, or in the case of a new model remove the polyester coating used on the scroll.
- Now you can get to the meat of it and ensure that a tomato is place securely into the hopper’s entrance with the provided plunger before filling up the rest of the hopper’s housing. Note that depended on the size of the machine you may need to cut up the tomato in halves or quarters.
- Turn on the tomato milling machine and load and plunge as needed during the milling process.
- Once you have run through all of your produce you can run the skins through once more to squeeze out any juices the first run may have missed.
- Then you can take your freshly processed tomatoes and bring them to a boil while stirring them which will lead to your final product: a fine tomato sauce ready for canning.
Step 3: Canning the Mixture
- Next you will want to take out your jars and add the lemon juice or citric acid to them.
- To prep you will want to first take a boiling water canner and fill it with water till it is between ½ and ¾ full. Then set the canner on the stove to boil.
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or ½ tsp citric acid for a quart jar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or ¼ citric acid for a pint jar
- You can then add salt for flavor if you wish
- 1 teaspoon in a quart
- ½ teaspoon in a pint
- Once the water in the canner is boiling you can continue.
- Take a funnel and put it in a jar and ladle the tomato mixture into it until there is a ½ inch of head-space left in the jar. Repeat as needed.
- Next wipe off the top of the jars with a cloth before putting on the lid. This is crucial as any bit of food left on the rim could cause the jar to not properly seal.
- From there put on the lid and screw the band till it is finger tight.
Last Step: Process the Jars
It is now time to prepare the final product.
- Once all the jars have been filled you will need to place them in the boiling water canner using a jar lifter or similar implement.
- Ensure that the water is still simmering and that there is at least 1-2 inches of boiling water above the tops of the jars.
- Bring the canner to a boil, place the lid on the canner and set a timer in accordance with the table below as altitude affects the process.
Table 1. Recommended process time for Crushed Tomatoes in a boiling-water canner.
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 – 1,000 ft||1,001 – 3,000 ft||3,001 – 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||35 min||40 min||45 min||50 min|
|Quarts||45 min||50 min||55 min||60 min|
- At the half way point check to ensure that the jars are still submerged and the water is boiling. Add more boiled water if there is not a least an inch of water above the jars.
- Once the timer is done it is time to take out the jars. Lay out some wooden boards or cloth towels and then slowly take out each jar with the lifter and place them apart to cool.
- It is important not to let them cool in a draft as a the breeze could cause the jars to crack at this point.
- Now it is time to just let them cool for the next 12-24 hours.
- Note there is a noticeable pop as the jars cool and seal. It just means things are progressing properly.
- Finally after all that wait you can carefully take off the screws on the lid and test to make sure things have sealed properly. Just gently press down on each lid and any that flex or give did not seal right, those need to be refrigerated. Those that pass are now good and can be stored in a cool dry dark place.
Giving you a Head Start
To help out in preparation of creating tomato products. We here at Artisan Cooking have put together a canning kit that will certainly give you a head start in the tools that will make creating your tomato products a breeze.
We have 2 kits to choose from, each centered around a different tomato milling machine and based on the amount of tomato products that you would like to process at one time:
A Parting Note
Thank you for your time and we hope that this article has proved useful in your canning endeavors and provided some solid information about using a tomato milling machine to speed up and streamline the traditional canning process. We have always been proud to provide quality products so you can create quality food and we guarantee that our selection of tomato milling machines will be invaluable in chasing after that perfect tomato sauce. As always we are happy to take thoughts and comments and wish you the best in becoming artisans of cooking.