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Tomatoes USED to be much higher in acid. No tomatoes available today, even the ones you grow yourself, even organic, even heirloom, simply aren’t as high in acid as they used to be 100, or even 50 years ago. The magic acid value in canning is 4.6 and tomatoes are right around that number. That means ALL tomato recipes need the addition of an acidifying ingredient to bring that acid value up (and number down). Download the Acid and Canning chart for free here!
Acidifying ingredients include: lemon juice (must be store bought). Listen to our episode about Acid and Canning to learn more about why.
Citric Acid – easy, has a taste but not one that can’t be hidden, add to jars before or after filling, or add to batch
Vinegar- has a strong taste, which isn’t always a bad thing, but you should always use store bought
Salsas: because they are canned, they aren’t going to be that fresh salsa you might want from a Mexican restaurant- they also can’t be changed dramatically as that will change the acid level- alliums (garlic onions) are low acid, as are peppers, and that’s what people want a LOT of- stick with a tested recipe.
Ketchup- I made once in the crockpot and it was truly a lot more like a barbeque sauce but still very good.
Tomato sauce- if there’s meat or broth, it must be pressure canned. I add essential oil (oregano rosemary) for flavor punch, you CAN skip peeling (I use a blender to blitz skins and haven’t had any negative taste). Use my recipe here!
If it is a water bath canning recipe, don’t be tempted to add more garlic and onions as that changes the acid level.
Enchilada sauce/pizza sauce/etc- great choices for pantry, same rules apply- don’t overdo garlic and onions, use essential oils for flavor boost.