What to do with too many tomatoes

Jul 27, 2011

Many parts of California offer the perfect summer climate for growing tomatoes. In fact, it's so good gardeners often find themselves with more tomatoes than they can eat fresh on salads and burgers.

To manage this bounty, UC Cooperative Extension Master Food Preservers offer classes that teach Californians the "lost art" of canning, a process which keeps summer in a jar to enjoy all year, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.

The story, written by Debbie Arrington, featured 12-year veteran UCCE Master Food Preserver Lillian Smith, who teaches canning and other preservation techniques in Sacramento County.

"Starting two years ago, we saw many more people coming to our classes," Smith was quoted. "We saw attendance double, even triple or more. When we used to get 10 people, now we get 30 or 40 in a class."

She said food safety concerns and economics are driving the interest in food preservation.

"People want to know how to do it themselves," Smith said.

Smith has 25 tomato plants growing in her Rio Linda backyard, according to the article. She experiments with different ways to preserve her crop. Last summer, she tried pressure canning and making tomato leather.

The Master Food Preservers handle all sorts of fruit and vegetables, but tomato processing is always the No. 1 request.

Free publications about home food preservation are available in the UC ANR online catalog, including:

Attached Images:

Can tomatoes to keep summer in a jar.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist