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Canning -- Tomatoes

How can I tell if my homegrown tomatoes are low-acid or high acid? What procedure do I use to make sure I can them safely?

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Some varieties are advertised as "low-acid" tomatoes. They are in fact not lower in acid than other tomatoes, but higher in sugar, which produces a very mild, sweet flavor. Therefore, there is truly no differentiation between low-acid and high-acid tomatoes. Secondly, you need to use research-based instructions to can tomatoes. I would recommend using the Ball Blue Book for instructions to can tomatoes. This book can be purchased at many bookstores, grocery stores, and department stores. The general rule is: if tomatoes are acidified properly, they can be processed in a water bath canner; if they are not acidified, then they need to be processed in a pressure canner.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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