Saturday, August 29, 2009

Canning Spicy Tomato Juice & Jalapeños

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.


Lori said...

Aren't those full jars a blessing to look at??? Great job! I stare at my newly canned jars for days on end :)
Thanks so much for the link to my site. :)
Happy weekend!

Kim said...

Glad to see you canning! Tomatoes are not always acidic enough on their own, so it's recommended that you add some acid like lemon juice or powdered citric acid. But you probably already know that now. ;)

Good for you, Lenetta!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Hee hee! Your incidents crack me up!

Mark loves jalapenos too! He just made some poppers the other day and was quite proud of himself. However, he forgot to wear gloves and had a difficult time sleeping that night. Funny how hard it is to sleep when your hands are ON FIRE!!! Anyway, we have a ton of these from our garden, so I'm passing along the recipe link to him to try. And thanks so much for the links to the canning info... I've never done it, but would love to try!

Amy @ Finer Things said...

Now that's the kind of work I could get into. Something I could really SEE when I'm done. :)

Found a Craigslist ad for 150-200 large widemouth Ball and Kerr jars for $25. Add was placed in the morning, and all sold when I emailed at 3:00. :( Oh well! Next time!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Lenetta, this is AWESOME! My tomatoes are all still green. There are probably a couple hundred of them out there and I'm just hoping that we'll get another couple weeks of sun. HOWEVER, I did read (back when I was learning all about making hot sauce) that even if the tomatoes aren't red, they're still wonderful in hot sauce. And what we did last time was pull up all the tomato plants (roots and all) and hang them upside down in the garage or the basement and the tomatoes actually ripen on the vine. WOWEE!

You've made me excited about doing this all over again. At one point I read that I would have to add vinegar to tomatoes to balance out the acid. And I have no idea where I read that so I will get onto those sites you suggested before I start this again. YAY!!!!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

OH...and we only planted three jalapeno plants this year and they're FULL of peppers already. Several are just about ready to pull (my kids pulled three already) but I'm gonna give 'em another couple weeks along with the tomatoes. I'm so excited and only wish I had done more than the one SFG this year!

Angela said...

Welcome to the world of canning! It is one of my favorite things to do, although I could do without all the mess. It is so satisfying to see all those full jars when you're done.

My grandma, mom, and sister can everything without using a hot water bath. I'm not that brave, I put everything in a hot water bath.

That Spicy Tomato Juice recipe looks great!

Becky said...

I just found your website this evening, in OCTOBER! Thank you for describing in such great detail your fun with canning tomatoes. I feel better now about my efforts! This is my first year in attempting to can, and trying to understand the high acid / low acid / add lemon / blah, blah, blah is driving me crazy! I love how you ended up opening your jars back up, adding lemon juice and then processing. I myself discovered what a jar of tomatoes that has gone bad smells like!!! And it was only about a week after I had processed it in a water bath, but hadn't added any lemon. YUCK!!! I won't be sharing any of my canned stuff this year. I'll experiment on myself first. Thanks again for sharing!

Ronnda said...

When giving my jars their "bath" I use my canner and our turkey fryer base so that I can heat up the really well and after their "bath" I set them on the patio table (covered with a layer of towels) to cool! Really cuts down on the heat in the house espicially when they have to bathe for 25-40 minutes depending on what you got going that particular day...

Lenetta said...

Awesome suggestion, Ronnda! Thanks for stopping by!