Canning tomatoes without using a pressure cooker??

LORIS626

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I've canned lots of tomatoes in the past and a friend of mine has also and we've never used a pressure cooker.
If you have a "seal" isn't that good enough? The tomatoes I've canned have been simmering for at least 30 minutes and I ladle them hot into hot jars. I've never had a problem with the jars sealing and obviously, I'm still alive. What does using a pressure cooker do? or prevent?
 

me&thegals

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I actually can't say exactly how a pressure cooker works towards safety, but it kills more organisms in the food.

Tomatoes are fruit, and fruits are naturally acidic enough to be a safe canned food using only a water bath. However, the more modern varieties are less acidic than the old-fashioned heirlooms, so most modern recipes ask for 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per quart of tomatoes to help bring the acidity back up. So, you've been doing just fine :)
 

Grow 4 Food

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I dont pressure mine. I do, however, get them to a good boil before I put them into my hot jars. It also calls for a little salt in them. Hasn't killed me yet so something must be ok.

I never use Heirlooms, pink, orange, yellow, or striped tomatoes to do this. Always a standard red like a beefsteak, big boy, or roma.
 

patandchickens

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Just having a successful seal on the jar does not guarantee safety if there are live spoilage organisms sealed *into* the jar ;) There are two basic categories of spoilage organisms to worry about: Clostridium, which causes botulism, which is NOT killed at normal boiling temperature; and all other spoilage bacteria and fungi, which are fairly well killed by a good solid boil.

Most things, you have to pressure can to eliminate the threat of botulism (which is NOT always detectable as spoilage, and is often fatal).

But tomatoes (and most fruits) are generally acidic enough that the combination of acidity and regular ol' boiling temperatures will prevent botulism risk. So they are the only things you would NOT normally pressure-can. (Though as me&thegals says, nowadays not all tomato varieties are quite acidic enough, so the official recommendation is to slighlty acidify your tomatoes with a little vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid before canning them)

Exception: if you are mixing in other things, such as making stewed tomatoes where you add celery and green pepper and onion to the tomatoes, then it should be pressure-canned for safety (unless you pH test the product and adjust with acid to safe levels, in which case you can waterbath can that too)

Pat
 

ams3651

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My gram and I were just talking about this the other day. Id like to do some canning and Ive never seen a pressure cooker in either grandmothers homes. She has never used one, just uses a canner of boiling water and puts the jars of tomatoes in. Im not sure of the whole process but its how she and her sister have always done it. Occasionally there will be one that goes bad but its rare.
 

coopy

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You don't want to use a pressure cooker on tomatoes. You'll get mush. All you need for tomatoes is a canner.
 

LORIS626

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My point is that I don't even use a boiling water bath. I just heat the tomatoes to boiling and let them simmer for 30 minutes or so until the consistency is right, then I ladle them hot into hot jars. They always seal. Maybe I'm living on borrowed time!
 

rockytopsis

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I guess each to his/her own, I follow the Ball Blue book. I will not take a chance of making my faimly sick.
 

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