Country Living Series

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why acidify tomatoes?

Over at Thoughts from Frank and Fern, there's a very educational post about whether or not it's necessary to acidify tomatoes when canning. Fern emailed and asked my opinion on the subject, which she included in the post. The opinions of some other bloggers are included as well.


Well worth the read, especially if canning tomatoes is looming in your near future.

11 comments:

  1. I was told by the extension office that the tomatoes we have today are less acidic therefore one would need to add and waterbathe is no longer safe either..pressure canning is the way to go..thanks for the read

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  2. How timely, I spent this afternoon and evening canning my brother's tomatoes for him and was undecided about adding lemon juice, since I was pressure canning. Could not find anything definitive to the contrary.
    I think I'll go check it out.
    Thanks.
    sidetracksusie

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    Replies
    1. Actually if you were pressure canning the tomatoes (as you would need to do if you have any low-acid ingredients like onions or peppers), you won't need to add the acidifiers. The higher temps of pressure canning will do the trick.

      - Patrice

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    2. It seems odd that no "bona fide" agency will state that no acidification is necessary when pressure canning. Then again, maybe it is not odd due to the scope of regulation we live under.
      I also ran into a plethora of times for pressure canning. My All American book says 10 minutes at 10 lbs at 1000 ft. At my elevation I can at 13 lbs., but would like to see some kind of consensus on the time. Sigh.
      I have another batch to day (quite the blessing) and am not using the lemon juice.
      sidetracksusie

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  3. I think many people are still lumping "heirloom" and "open-pollinated" together, when they are referring to a variety of tomato which will breed true generation after generation, which is the trait those of us who strive toward self-sufficiency are looking for. It seems, though, that our palates (and maybe stomachs) aren't used to tomatoes with a higher acid content, and tomatoes have been developed to meet that expectation. I remember seeing a pizza box maybe 20 years ago that boldly informed the customer that they used a lower-acid tomato sauce. As for me, I'll be safe and add the citric acid.

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  4. I pressure can tomatoes and don't add acid. It's a very heated debate that is for sure, but the guidelines seem to change so often for many canned foods that it is hard to keep track of what the newest rules are. In the early 90s my mom contacted the extension office in her town and they told her that 12 minutes at 12 pounds pressure works for all tomato products, no acid needed. When she called earlier this year they told her 10 minutes at 10 pounds pressure with the added acid. I do 15 pounds pressure for 15 minutes with no acid added because I don't like the taste of the added acid. I do however always thoroughly cook my tomatoes when I use them, they are never used plain, always cooked as a sauce for something or mixed in with meat and cooked for at least 10-15 minutes. Which when I contacted one of the national canning places, they said that if you don't add acid you just need to ensure you cook the tomatoes for 10 minutes after you open the jar to kill any potential botulism.

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  5. I've never added lemon juice, but then again I've never water bathed tomatoes, ever. I end up canning whatever the folks plant, which is not heirloom. I just did a check on the Presto site and they recommend using lemon juice regardless.

    (although I am pleased to see that they have pressure canning formula for peaches etc. I have trouble pressure canning, but waterbathing is a whole different story)

    http://www.gopresto.com/recipes/canning/fruits.php

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  6. Thank you again for a wonderfully educational post.

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  7. I use white vinegar to acidify and water bath all my tomatoes. I always have, and it's always worked out just fine.

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  8. I'm not sure how heirloom tomatoes are suddenly less acidic. I've always used white vinegar to acidify and have always water bath canned. No problems. Ever.

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  9. Boy, did I learn a lot today about canning tomatoes! I really value this new information.

    I ALWAYS added lemon juice when I water-bathed tomatoes simply because the instructions always said to do it. I've even made the special trip to the grocery just to get some.

    But I haven't canned tomatoes for such a long time that I wasn't paying attention to the changing recommendations.

    Thank goodness I'm in the know now that I've been reading this!

    Just Me

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