Friday, September 24, 2010

Canning Fire Roasted Tomatoes Using A Hot Water Bath

Wash jars. Then place in boiling water until needed.

Cut tomatoes in half and place in shallow roasting pan.

Completed quarts of fire roasted tomatoes.

Sharing Our Canning Experience
First of all I want to point out that my canning expertise is in making jam which is a lot easier than canning tomatoes due to the higher acid content of most fruits. During my recent visit to Minneapolis, my daughter and I were experimenting with trying to can fire roasted tomatoes without using a pressure canner. We are not experts in tomato canning and, in fact, spent much of the day cleaning tomatoes off the walls after a pyrex baking dish exploded in mid air! So take this post as more of a story than a tried and true recipe!

Fire Roasted Tomatoes - The Problems we were Trying to Solve
My daughter loves to cook with fire roasted tomatoes. However, they are quite expensive if you use a lot of them so when we found a big sale on Roma tomatoes at the farmers market on Sunday, we naturally wanted to try to make them ourselves. When we searched for a fire roasted canning recipe, they all involved roasting them first in olive oil. I think this pushed the tomatoes, which are already borderline low acid, to less optimum acidity level necessitating the use of a pressure canner. So the problems we were trying to solve were:
* We wanted a "fire roasted tomato" with its skin, instead of a peeled tomato.
* We wanted to use a water bath canning technique since we didn't have a pressure canner.

Our Approach
Instead of roasting the tomatoes in oil, we just put them in a pan with a little water and sea salt. After baking them at high heat, we broiled them to get that fire roasted look and taste. In order not to die of botulism, we added lemon juice to every jar to make the tomatoes more acidic. Then we put them in a hot water bath for a long time. Here's our recipe.


Fire Roasted Tomatoes
[makes 6 quarts of tomatoes]
About 20 pounds of Roma tomatoes
6 quart glass canning jars with rims and new lids
12 tablespoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
2 cups water or more

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Wash the jars in soapy water. You can use a dishwasher with a sanitizer cycle if you have one. Once washed, submerge the jars in boiling water. You can use the water bath canner or another pot.
Boil the lids and rims in a small pot and leave in boiling water until needed.
Wash tomatoes. Cut off the tops and cut in half lengthwise. Place them in a large, shallow roasting pan. You will have to do this in several batches. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of water over the tomatoes and a few pinches of salt. This will make some bubbly tomato juice that you will use to fill your jars to the top.
Bake the tomatoes at 500 degrees F for 15 minutes and then move to the broiler until they start to blacken.
Remove from broiler and fill the jars with roasted tomatoes.
Put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice over the tomatoes in each jar.
Fill each jar to 1/2 inch from the top with the juices from the roasting pan.
Run a plastic knife around the edges to remove any air bubbles in the jars.
Wipe the tops of the jars clean with a paper towel.
Place lids on the jars and screw on the rims (snug but not too tight).
Boil in a hot water bath covered with 1 to 2 inches of water.
Process for 45 minutes (some experts say 85 minutes when packing them with their own juices but that seems excessive to me) and even longer if you are at high altitude.
Lift the jars out of the hot water bath with a jar lifter (my favorite tool for canning).
Place jars on a towel and let them remain untouched until they cool. (this may take a while, maybe overnight).
Once cooled, press down on the lid to see if it sealed. If it moves up and down, it is not sealed. You can refrigerate the jar and use it within the next week.

Lessons Learned
* We were surprised how few jars 20 pounds of tomatoes made. Canning your own tomatoes makes a lot more sense if you start with "free" home-grown tomatoes. If you don't, I'm not sure it's worth it when you can buy organic fire roasted diced tomatoes from Muir Glen for about the same price.
* DO NOT broil tomatoes in a pyrex baking dish. With the baking and broiling and handling, you may have an "exploding pyrex" incident like we did. If you have never washed 5 pounds of hot tomatoes off of an entire kitchen, trust me, it's not how you want to spend your Sunday!


Debra said...

Oh my goodness, what an experience! Sorry about your explosion. Excellent information for all of us. The Fire Roasted Tomatoes look beautiful in the canning jars:) Good job!

Anonymous said...

great post thanks

jamgeneric said...

From my viewpoint, it is worth the effort and money if fire-roasted tomatoes are used as a basis for homemade, canned ketchup. I challenge anyone to find reasonably priced ketchup for sale in a glass bottle, unless it has a distinct and usualy spicy ingredients. Whole Foods does have Kensington, but emphasis here is on reasonably priced.

Thanks for your time, experimentation, and sharing your success. Joyce

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Hi Joyce,
I've canned tomatoes in almost every way imaginable but never ketchup. You've inspired me to try it!