A Bushel Full Of Tomatoes

A bushel basket full of tomatoes – now what do you do? People at work see you coming with a bag in your hand and they go the other way. Your neighbors go back in the house when they see you walking up the street. Your own family even stops dropping by. It must be tomato season.

There is nothing like biting into a warm juicy tomato right off the vine on a summers afternoon. The explosion of flavor you get when you bite into it. The taste that you can never get from a store bought tomato. But lets face it the problem is that tomatoes do not ripen one at a time. So now here you are with a bushel basket full of tomatoes and they won’t last for long so what do you do? The answer is start canning. It use to be a tremendous ordeal to can your own vegetables but now a days it is not so much work. With the right system you can fill your pantry shelves with fresh grown tomatoes to enjoy all winter long. The real secret is in the preparation.

What You Need

1. A good hot water bath canner available for less than $60.00 with all the tools at most Big Box Stores.
2. A large stainless steel pot.
3. Common kitchen utensils: a ladle, measuring cup. measuring spoons, and several large bowls.
4. Oh and of course canning jars, bands, and lids.

Once you have all your tools it is simply a matter of developing a system to make the task easy. Just like in cooking have everything you need put together before you start. Here is the system I use.

  • Clean all the canning jars in hot soapy water
  • Fill the canner and bring to a boil
  • Prepare you recipe while water is heating up
  • Place clean jars in the canner of boiling steel bite pro water and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize
  • Pack jars seal and then process

By organizing and putting everything in place you can make the task of canning an easy process and you can get it done quickly. I love salsa and chips in the winter and I have included my favorite zesty salsa recipe.

Glenn’s Favorite Salsa (Traditional Water Bath Canning Recipe)

A fresh and zesty salsa right from the garden. This is easy to make and taste oh so good on a cold winter evening. This recipe will make 6 pints but you can adjust to make as much or little as you like.

10 cups of fresh tomatoes peeled,cored,seeded and chopped (6lbs)
5 cups mild green chili peppers seeded and chopped (2lbs)
5 cups white onions chopped ( about 5 medium onions )
2 1/2 cups seeded and chopped hot peppers (1lb)
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro
3 teaspoons of canning salt
1 1/4 cups of white vinegar


Combine all the ingredients in a large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil. Reduce hit and simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Place lid and band then process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. Be sure there is an inch of water covering tops of jars. Remove from canner and let cool for 24 hours. Remove bands, check lids, then store. If any lids did not seal you may reprocess them or refrigerate and use with in two weeks. Even though the recipe calls for seeding the tomatoes and peppers I just leave the seeds.

Always follow recipe instructions for processing times and manufactures instruction for preparing jars and lids.

Glenn Bronner is a professional grounds keeper with over 35 years of experience. Come join him as he tends the Urban Garden and The Woodland Garden and shares gardening tips and knowledge. At his site.

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