Tag Archives: tomato

Canned Tomatoes

My boyfriend’s “Nonna” – his Italian grandmother – grows and cans her own tomatoes and the resulting tomato sauce over fresh gnocchi is simply to die for.  This year, my friend and I wanted to start canning our own tomatoes.  I felt like I was preparing for the apocalypse, stocking my pantry with so many mason jars of canned goods!  We didn’t have time to go and pick our own tomatoes, so we ordered two crates from the West End Food Co-Op a grocery store where you can order large quantities of produce from local farms.

For nine hours we slaved over 50 pounds of perfectly ripened, shiny red tomatoes, making homemade ketchup and 15 liters of canned tomatoes!  I absolutely loved the homemade ketchup (featured below in the large jar).  Homemade ketchup is a thinner consistency than store bought ketchup, but much tastier! 

Homemade ketchup

Homemade ketchup

The canning process is very simple, we just had A LOT of tomatoes.  I can’t wait to make to make fresh pasta sauce this fall!  Now I just need to master making homemade gnocchi, and then I can recreate “Nonna’s” food at home.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 7 x 32oz (quart) mason jars


  • 20 pounds of ripe tomatoes washed throughly
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice


  1. Prep the jars in a water canner. Set them on a rack and fill with water until jars are covered and boil for at least 10 minutes. Keep hot until ready for use.
  2. Place lids in hot water (not boiling) until ready for use.
  3. Blanch tomatoes in a another pot of boiling water for 45 - 60 seconds. Immediately place in an ice cold water bath.
  4. Remove skins (they should peel off easily - otherwise adjust blanching timing), remove stems and any bruised or discoloured areas.
  5. Pack whole tomatoes into the hot mason jar, pressing them close together. Try not too pack them too tightly or too loosely, they should be comfortably placed together so that they're aren't any big gaps . Use a wooden chopstick to help pack the tomatoes and remove air bubbles.
  6. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice, leaving 1/2 inch headspace from the top rim.
  7. Wipe rim and carefully place down lid. Screw on the bands until they are just tight (do not overtighten).
  8. Place jars in canner, ensuring the top of the jars are covered with an inch of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 85 minutes.
  9. Remove the jars without tilting and cool upright for one day.
  10. Check seals (they should be curved downward, and when the band is removed you should be able to hold the jar by the edge of the lid).
  11. Store in a dark, cool place.

Recipe Notes

Each mason jar holds 7-8 tomatoes each.
I prefer canning whole tomatoes with no added salt so that I leave my options open for when I decide to use them.

Detox 2010 – Quinoa, Leek, Tomato & Avocado salad

For the past three weeks, I have been doing my annual detox. What better time than after Easter to cleanse the body. Spring has sprung!

The basic rules of my regular detox are: no red meat, sugar, gluten, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, corn & corn based products, and dairy. Seems crazy but by the second week I find it gets much easier, and even fun! I love trying out new vegetarian recipes and discovering alternative ways to spice and flavour, plus my body feels sooo amazing, I almost feel that it’s a shame to go back to my old ways!

This year I did something a little different and started off the cleanse with a 10 day detox, where you slowly eliminate and then bring back different elements. Day 5-7 was the most challenging because you are limited to: tofu, kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, apples and pears. The hardest part – no rice, no beans.
But I did it! And man, was I bouncing around with energy that weekend, I practically flew through my running route!

Anyway, the one thing I love about detoxing is that I always find some new foods and recipes to add to my regular diet. This year I discovered: lentil chips (with guacamole, awesome), flax seed oil, quinoa salads, tofu mayo (with baked sweet potato fries – more awesomeness), steamed kale (OK vegetarians, I get it now!), apple/pear smoothie and quinoa onion rings (which I didn’t make but I had them at Fresh – best ever).

I’d like to share some of these recipes with you, so enjoy some healthy goodness!

First up:
Quinoa, Tomato & Avocado Salad

Filling with fresh and creamy accents, this is a perfect salad for lunchtime!  I discovered that flax seed oil works beautifully with quinoa – just a hint of salty nutty-ness, healthy and not too oily.

Makes 2 large salads


1 cup organic quinoa

1 leek, white section chopped and rinsed

2 large hot house tomatoes, diced

1 roasted red pepper, diced

1 tablespoon flax seed oil

lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado

Boil two cups of water in a saucepan.  Add the quinoa and allow water to return to a boil.  Stir in the leeks and place a lid over the saucepan and turn the heat to low.  Cook quinoa 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.  Fluff with fork.

Add the tomatoes, peppers, flax seed oil and salt and pepper to taste and a squirt of lemon juice.

Split into two servings and keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

To serve,  slice half the avocado into cubes and sprinkle over top.  Wrap up the other half of the avocado and save for the second serving of salad.