Thanks to partner planting and some easy homemade fertilizer, my tomato plants tend to take off each season and I always end up with more than I know what to do with. If you’re like me, you enjoy garden tomatoes in your favorite recipes or even just snacking on a fresh tomato with a dash of salt. If there’s still an abundance of tomatoes sitting on your counter, canning may be a good preservation option. There are a few different methods of canning, but the tomato canning supplies generally remain the same. Here are five tomato canning supplies to preserve sauce longer so you can enjoy your homegrown tomatoes all year long.
Safety first! Before you begin using your tomato canning supplies, be sure to read carefully about the canning method you’ve chosen. Variables like temperature, seal, and timing make all the difference in keeping your preserved foods from growing dangerous bacteria or botulism toxins. Using a food thermometer is essential for canning and storing tomato sauce safely.
Wide Mouth Canning Jars (and Lids)
When canning tomato sauce, I prefer a larger wide-mouth jar since it’s easier to fill and holds more sauce. Another thing I like about the wider mouth jars is that they stack easier in my pantry. Be careful when stacking so as not to disturb the vacuum seal, though!
Organic Bottled Lemon Juice, or Powdered Citric Acid
Depending on your recipe, bottled lemon juice may be called for as an additive to increase the acidity and make your method of canning safer. The acidity also helps preserve your sauce longer. I prefer using organic bottled lemon juice as part of my tomato canning supplies because it doesn’t have additional preservatives and chemicals. Sometimes lemon juice adds too much liquid to a recipe. Powdered Citric Acid is a great substitute since it won’t add to your liquid volume and will accomplish the same acid boost as lemon juice, keeping your tomato sauce safer and fresher for longer.
This is my go-to salt for canning and a must-have in my tomato canning supplies. It doesn’t contain iodine and extra minerals which sometimes affect the taste of canned tomato sauce. It’s also free of anti-caking chemicals found in regular table salt. Those chemicals can affect the taste and color of canned vegetables, too, which is why this type of salt exists!
Some people use their plug-in pressure cookers and water baths for canning, but tomatoes are a low-acid food that makes it harder to preserve safely. And when it comes to food safety, I don’t mess around. If you’re making tomato sauce, the only device that gets hot enough to truly kill all bacteria, and especially if you’re making a meat sauce, is a pressure canner.
What are your tomato canning supplies? Do you have tips for canning and preserving your sauce? Share with me in the comments!