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How-To's on putting food aside: canning, freezing, drying, much more...
Location: North Carolina
Latest Activity: Mar 1
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Dh found and article that said tomatoes that weren't heirloom didn't have enough acid for a hotwater bath. I think they are referring to store Hot House tomatoes where I put up all my naturally sun ripened tomatoes but I thought I would check,
I've been told that only a couple of tomato varieties have been identified as sometimes dangerously low in acid, but I don't know which varieties they are.
If your tomatoes seem bland but you'd rather not add lemon juice, I recommend either checking the pH (with a pH meter) or adding citric acid instead of lemon juice. The recommended amount of citric acid is 1/4 teaspoon per pint or 1/2 teaspoon per quart.
I've just found an abstract of what may be the single study on which the USDA has issued its recommendation to add acid to home-canned tomatoes. Here's the citation: I. D. Wolf et al., "The pH of 107 Varieties of Minnesota-Grown Tomatoes." Journal of Food Science v. 44, no. 4 (July 1979), pages 1,000-1010. The abstract says that only one variety, Ace, exceeded 4.6 pH when ripe, but that twelve other varieties exceeded 4.6 pH when overripe. The other varieties aren't listed in the abstract, but I found them in another online forum: Beefmaster Hybrid, Big Early Hybrid, Big Girl, Big Set, Burpee VF Hybrid, Cal Ace, Delicious, Fireball, Garden State, Royal Chico, and San Marzano.
I have never again planted San Marzano since I found mold growing inside what appeared from the outside to be perfect fruits. You can tell this tomato is low in acid because it tastes like cotton.
The most important lesson of the Minnesota study, I think, is that you shouldn't can overripe tomatoes. It's very hard, anyway, to draw a clear line between an overripe tomato and one that's starting to rot. Overripe tomatoes should go to the chickens, hogs, or compost heap, not into canning jars.
Preserve figs in syrup, pickle them, or make them into paste. I make fig paste with ground almonds, lemon peel, cinnamon, and sometimes honey. It's the world's best energy bar!
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