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Canning Tomatoes --Why Do They Separate??

Discussion in 'The Harvest: Recipes, Canning, Preserving' started by #1CaliforniaChick, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. Sep 30, 2009
    #1CaliforniaChick

    #1CaliforniaChick Sprout

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    I have been canning tomatoes for the last week.

    I have tried heating the fruit before I put in the jars.

    I still end up with juice/water on the bottom and fruit at the top of the jars.

    What am I doing wrong??

    Thanks for your help!!

    Cindy
  2. Sep 30, 2009
    journey11

    journey11 Garden Addicted

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    I canned tomatoes for the first time this year too. I always froze them before and am tempted to go back to it. I was wondering the same thing....
    :pop
  3. Sep 30, 2009
    Broke Down Ranch

    Broke Down Ranch Deeply Rooted

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    It's normal. It's the air pockets in the cells of the tomatoes that cause them to rise to the top. Almost anything you can will do this if they are left in big enough pieces....
  4. Sep 30, 2009
    lesa

    lesa Garden Addicted

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    If you are doing exactly what they say in the Ball Book, you should be fine. I am not one for following directions too closely, but with canning it is a must! Enjoy!
  5. Sep 30, 2009
    patandchickens

    patandchickens Deeply Rooted

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    (edited because, on second reading, <lightbulb> you were just talking about having whole tomatoes floating in the jar, yes, not the sauce problem discussed below? Oh :p Yes, it is normal for the tomatoes to float. If you let them cool 5-10 minutes after boiling, before putting in jars, it is nto as bad, but yeah, they do that. It is not a problem :p)

    It is normal for the clearish liquid to separate out, and extremely hard to avoid.

    There is some detailed rigamarole you can do to more or less prevent it -- it involves exposing tomatoes to some particular temperature *immediately after* they are cut or crushed, to deactivate some enzyme. I will try to look it up for you if I have time today. You can fake this at home by cutting/crushing only a few tomatoes at a time and adding them to an already-simmering kettle of the previous tomatoes -- but this is a pain in the patootie and results in some of the tomatoes getting cooked for a loooong time, so I am not sure it is worthwhile.

    Another approach is that, for things where it matters more (like if your kids or husband won't eat spaghetti sauce if it's separated) you can cheat and glurk in a little bit of commercial spaghetti sauce just before serving; the commercial stuff has, I dunno, binders or emulsifiers or something that seems to bring the homemade stuff back together so the separation is not noticeable to picky eaters :p

    (e.t.a. - or you can hang it in a cheesecloth-lined colander, or any similar arrangement, to drain off the clear liquid, either before canning or before serving. This gives you a much thicker product, obviously. You can save the liquid for soup or chickens, as it has some of the tomato nutrition in it)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
  6. Sep 30, 2009
    journey11

    journey11 Garden Addicted

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    Good to know... I thought maybe the tomatoes I used were not dense enough or of good quality. I couldn't figure it out. Now I have had pickles that floated because I used cukes that were too overgrown and they were somewhat pithy. I've only been canning for 2 years, so I am learning as I go! :)

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