In my family, jarring tomatoes has been a life long tradition. The most vivid memories of my childhood are of watching my grandparents make homemade tomato sauce. Waking up early, creating something delicious and making memories – this is what canning season meant to us.
This year, I shared this tradition with my husband’s family. With careful instructions from my grandmother, we decided to take a shot at it. After years of watching her work her magic, I led with all her wisdom and knowledge in my back pocket.
107 jars and six hours later – we had made six bushels of beautiful Ontario, Roma tomatoes. Enough sauce to last us all season and then some! It was an experience, although exhausting, that I would relive in a heartbeat. We laughed, we worked hard and enjoyed the fruit of our labour. It was a full circle moment for me. A lifetime of watching, learning and admiring – and now, I am able to share this tradition with my family and generations to come.
Here are some tips to get you started this season:
- Carefully select your produce for canning. Find a local farm or grocer and ask questions about their products. We used a local grocer, Cataldi.
- Timing is everything. Ideally you want to preserve at the right point of ripeness. This will ensure you maintain the integrity of the produce.
- Use the right materials and supplies. Choose high quality glass jars, seals and lids – Ball or Bernardin.
- The process can be daunting, so make sure you’re organized and clean. Have a system and if working with a team, make sure all your bases are covered.
- Keep in mind how much you can consume. Be realistic and only preserve what you intend to eat.
Whether its tomatoes, peppers, beets or strawberries, preserving can be great way to enjoy your favourite fruits and vegetables all year round.
For more information or guidelines on canning, check out How to Can.
Looking forward to next season!