It's been a while since I've introduced a new category to my blog, and I hope this one ends up with lots of posts eventually! This week, I canned spicy tomato juice. It's a recipe I've had for a while (and I actually managed to track down via the Taste of Home website - spicy tomato juice recipe) and I'm sure I clipped it because it gives instructions on freezing it. I've been afraid of canning for a long time (something about sending your whole family to the hospital does that to a girl) but I really want to conquer it!
There are still quite a few tomatoes in my freezer from last year (I'll have to share with you how I freeze tomatoes!) so I tried using about half frozen and half fresh. I ended up making about half again the recipe, although I ended up with about double the yield. I also didn't pay strict attention to the amounts, just put in about what I thought it should be and had Hubs taste test it when it was done. (YOU tell ME how many tiny onions make up "three medium onions" worth - plus half again, to boot!)
I will use about two quarts of this when I make chili (mmmMMM, can't wait until I make it so I can share that recipe with you!) and I also canned several smaller jars as Hubs enjoys it in a red beer every now and then.
Surely you know I couldn't do this without an "incident" right? Since tomatoes are so acidic, I went with my dad's advice that I didn't need to put them in a water bath to can them. So I washed the jars in HOT soapy water (using rubber gloves - it was that hot), and rinsed them in HOT water, then filled them with HOT juice, then put HOT lids on them and screwed on the rings. Then I started clicking around to some friends' sites, and got nervous.
I ended up removing the lids, using new (boiled) lids, and processing them in a water bath. (EDIT: I now am adding lemon juice to each jar, and I've also read that juice should be processed in a pressure canner. Good grief this stuff is complicated, isn't it???) Since I had a bit of extra space, I also made some pickled jalapeños since Hubs likes them.
Like everyone's kitchen, mine HEATS UP when canning . . . some things that I did to try and keep it cool included:
* setting a fan in the doorway to blow cool air in (while Goose was napping, of course).
* dumping my hot water as soon as I was done with it (I would also recommend taking it outside to cool and then using it on your garden).
* taking my jars from the water bath into the bathroom to cool - I lined the tub with a towel and set them in there. I also put the pot in there until it cooled down.
I also wasn't quite sure where to store my newly canned treasures. Away from heat and light is recommended . . . so I put them under the bed in the spare room! It's close enough to the kitchen that they won't be hard to grab when I need them.
If you're new to canning, I highly recommend Laura at Heavenly Homemaker's Canning 101, and you may remember that Lori at A Frugally Old Fashioned Homemaker put together a great post on Helpful Canning Information.