So in my absence of much of a blog, this summer has been consumed by quite a bit of canning. It’s quite a nice holdover for baking – instead of making the brownies when I’m stressed, I make Schezuan green beans, tomato chutney or vanilla bean shiro plum jam. While I still make some delicious baked and cooked creations, including a stunner of a zucchini bread played off from this recipe, canning has become quite the interesting hobby.
So when my local CSA offered 25 lb boxes of paste tomatoes for $20 this week, it felt like an offer I couldn’t refuse. And then, my friend Kathryn offered to jump in on the cost and work-sharing for the tomatoes. Following the lovely Marisa’s guidelines for canning whole tomatoes, we worked from about 11am to 2:30 pm Saturday to get 8 quarts processed and the other tomatoes peeled and ready to can. My roommate B & I finished the other 14 quarts later in the evening, and things seemed ok.
We did get some separation of water and tomatoes – the water was at the bottom of the jar. And then today, once the cans were fully cooled, I decided to attempt to redistribute the water. Once I tipped the jar back and forth a few times, the water did redistribute. BUT, then I noticed that there were many many tiny white bubbles leading to the top of the jar. And then, I realized, at least with this jar, there is a TON of headspace.
So I realize we probably did not do the best job in squish enough air out/put enough juice in when loading jars, but all of a sudden, all my concerns with waterbath canning (especially tomatoes) comes to a head and the alarmist in me comes out. So this post goes out to canners: do I redistribute the water on all the jars? Are the small bubbles dangerous? Is this head space completely and totally unacceptable and unsafe? (Meaning should I put this in the fridge and use first?)