Canning Cherry Tomatoes: Enjoy Cherry Tomatoes All Year

Cherry tomatoes are a botanical variety of the traditional tomato. They can be found in supermarkets at very good prices, especially during their season. It is easy to grow cherry tomatoes in your backyard and even in urban settings since they can be grown in pots and window boxes. Cherry tomatoes are small, sweet and contain less acid than regular tomatoes.

Canning Cherry Tomatoes

If you have an abundant growing season, cherry tomatoes can be canned at home and enjoyed later to bring that fresh garden taste into your kitchen in the off season.

 cherry tomatoes

Canning is a procedure of pasteurization in which the food is subjected to high temperatures (less than 100C or 212F) to kill bacteria that may damage the product or may pose a threat to human health. This can be done easily at home by boiling glass jars filled with the food in boiling water for a certain period of time.

During pasteurization, the preservation of food is achieved not only by heat but also by accompanying process of food preservation. For example, pasteurized milk needs to be conserved in the fridge (below 4 C or 39.2F). A pasteurized product is not sterilized so additional care is needed.

In regular tomatoes, the natural acidity of the product will be the preservation method that will complement pasteurization. A pH (a measure of acidity) value of less than 4.5 in needed to prevent bacteria growth in canned products. However, cherry tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic. It is not possible to achieve the value of pH of 4.5 naturally, so acid needs to be added to be on the safe side when canning cherry tomatoes. This can be done by adding lemon juice or citric acid to the canning liquid.

How to Can Cherry Tomatoes

  • Wash cherry tomatoes very careful to eliminate dirt and surface bacteria
  • If you want to can your tomatoes without skin (peeled) you can boil water, dip the tomatoes in the boiling water for a minute, take them out and dip them in cold water. This will allow you to peel them easily.
  • Take a glass mason jar, or a few of them in you have a lot of tomatoes, and add a quarter teaspoon of citric acid or one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each jar. This will increase the acidity of your final product
  • Add the tomatoes to the jar and fill, leaving an empty space known as "headspace" at the top of at least 1/4-inch.
  • Add boiling water over the cherry tomatoes filling up the jar to within 1/4 inch of the top. Place the seals and lids on the jars and close tightly.
  • Place the jars on a rack and lower the rack in a canning bath or stockpot with water at 140F, making sure that water covers the jars completely.
  • Bring the stockpot to a boil. After boiling has started, allow the jars to cook for at least 60 minutes
  • Turn off heat and leave the pot to sit on the stove for an additional 10 minutes. Carefully remove glass jars, place them on a towel and let them cool to room temperature. This may take up to 18 hours.

References:

Birgit Rademacker and Michael Brauner. 2005. Preserves And Canning: Enjoy Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Anytime Quick and Easy (Silverback) Series. Silverback Books,

Nina Redman . 2007. Food safety: a reference handbook. Contemporary world issues. Editor: ABC-CLIO

Image credit

mlaving at sxc.hu (free pic)