It has been a bit of a wait with the wet, cool and rainy garden season we have experienced here in Ohio – but the heat, humidity and sunshine have finally arrived – and along with it – the tomatoes are beginning to ripen.  That can mean only one thing – Canning season is about to arrive as well in full force!

Fresh tomatoes from the garden!
Fresh tomatoes from the garden!

The tomato crop is by far the most important we grow in our garden – helping to stock our pantry full of tomato juice, diced tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, ketchup and barbecue sauce just to name a few. By late summer – the tomato harvest has also filled our freezer full of home-made chili, vegetable soup – and my personal favorite – Mary’s heirloom tomato soup!

Canning and Preserving The Tomatoes…

We use the first few harvests of tomatoes from the garden to make our juice and salsa  – early season tomatoes are usually more plump and juicy – and lend themselves perfectly to those recipes.

Home made ketchup simmering on the stove
Home made ketchup simmering on the stove

We then make our pasta sauce, pizza sauce, bbq sauce, ketchup and soups with the tomatoes harvested in mid to late summer.  The later tomatoes tend to be a little thicker walled and meaty from the late summer heat –  making them great for sauces and soups.

So for today’s farm update – we thought we would share our favorite tomato canning and preserving recipes – you can click on any of the links at the end of each description to find the recipe.

TOMATO JUICE

Nothing beats the taste of home-made tomato juice!

Canned tomato juice in our canning cabinet
Canned tomato juice in our canning cabinet

Canning juice is one of the most simple and delicious ways to preserve your tomatoes – and is a great way to start for those new to canning.  We make both regular juice and a hot and spicy V-8 style version to have the year around. Canned juice is a great base for chili, pasta sauce and more – making it a valuable addition to your pantry

OUR SIMPLE TOMATO JUICE RECIPE

HOT AND SPICY TOMATO JUICE – MAKING YOUR OWN V-8 JUICE

SALSA 

Canned picante salsa
Canned picante salsa

We go through a lot of salsa!  It seems that one of our kids are opening a jar every time we turn around (or carting a few off with them to college).

We make and can both picante (a thinner version) and traditional salsa, along with hot and mild versions.  Making your own salsa is a great way to cut out preservatives and excess sodium from the store-bought varieties!

SUMMER TIME SALSA RECIPE

PICANTE SALSA RECIPE

SAUCES

The garden ingredients for pasta sauce!
The garden ingredients for pasta sauce!

Nothing can beat the taste of home-made pasta sauce! The freshness of home-grown tomatoes, peppers and garlic fill the sauce with a flavor and texture that cannot be matched!  The same goes for homemade ketchup, bbq sauce and pizza sauce.

Just like with the salsa – making your own sauces at home also cuts out all of the preservatives in the store-bought versions.

GARDEN FRESH PASTA SAUCE RECIPE 

HOME MADE KETCHUP RECIPE

HOT AND SPICY KETCHUP RECIPE

HOME MADE BBQ SAUCE

PIZZA SAUCE RECIPE

SOUPS

Homemade Chili using our chili seasoning
Homemade Chili using our chili seasoning

We would be lost without those quick, go-to meals that soups from the freezer provide in the fall and winter months.  Chili soup, vegetable soup, and tomato soup made straight from the garden are not only simple to create – but so much healthier than anything you could ever purchase in a store or restaurant!

GARDEN FRESH CHILI RECIPE

RICH AND CREAMY TOMATO SOUP RECIPE

Happy Canning – Jim and Mary

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