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Pressure canning tomatoes WITHOUT lemon juice
#1
Can anyone explain to me why our nanny state insists on adding lemon juice to pressure canned tomatoes?

I can't think of any other low acid food that requires additional acid when pressure canned. Yet tomatoes which are far higher in acid than other low acid foods, ie carrots, beans, meat, etc. supposedly can just fine without additional acid. I understand water bath methods need it but a pressure canner? I realize some tomatoes are less acidic these days, but again in a pressure canner?

Are tomatoes more prone to carrying botulism? I can't find anything that insinuates it.

I absolutely hate the bite of lemon juice in my canned tomatoes.

To make it even more ridiculous page 74 of my Ball book has a recipe for Italian tomato sauce, pressure canned, no lemon juice, typical processing times.
No other ingredient that I can see that adds acidity, if anything the added veggies would drop the acidity (raise the PH).

Seems ridiculous to say I can throw a piece or raw meat in a pressure canner and all is good with the world, or green beans (famous for killing people if not processed correctly), but the evil (acidic) tomato
need to be ruined by adding more acid.
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#2
It isn't for the additional acidity it's the ascorbic acid in the lemons helps hold the color of the tomatoes. Without the ascorbic acid your tomato sauce will turn dark and just look bad.

If you don't want to use Lemon juice, you can use the powdered Fruit Fresh, which adds no flavor and no noticeable acidity, but adds the ascorbic acid to hold the color.

I've always used lemon juice, but I only use a table spoon in a quart, and a teaspoon in a pint, and I can't say that I noticed any extra bite from the lemons.
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#3
streaker69;118299 Wrote:It isn't for the additional acidity it's the ascorbic acid in the lemons helps hold the color of the tomatoes. Without the ascorbic acid your tomato sauce will turn dark and just look bad.

If you don't want to use Lemon juice, you can use the powdered Fruit Fresh, which adds no flavor and no noticeable acidity, but adds the ascorbic acid to hold the color.

I've always used lemon juice, but I only use a table spoon in a quart, and a teaspoon in a pint, and I can't say that I noticed any extra bite from the lemons.

That is contrary to everything I've read over the years.
Everything has an added acidity chart when processing tomatoes, and that it's "essential" for lower the ph of pressure canned tomatoes.

I agree with your post regarding the other effects the lemon juice provides, but I have seen nothing that insinuates it's optional.
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#4
To quote my book (I need to type it from copy, so there may be mistakes).

Quote:(page 351) Acidification

Although tomatoes are classified as high-acid foods, they have a pH of 4.6, which falls very close to the dividing line between high- and lo-acid foods. Differences among varieties of tomatoes, growing conditions, and their maturity and how they are handled can cause their natural acidity level to vary. As a result, homemade tomato products must be "acidified" by adding bottled lemon juice or citric acid before they are heat-processed. We specify the use of bottled lemon juice rather than freshly squeezed because of the commercial product has a known and consistent pH. Fresh lemons produce juice of variable acidity.

It looks to me as though they're just being overly cautious when it comes to the processing of tomatoes. If you want to be sure you're getting a consistent pH, you could buy a pH meter, I think they're around $50 on amazon. Fruit Fresh is composed of Dextrose , Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, and Silicon Dioxide. You might be able to find what the pH of it actually is to you can figure out how much to add if you don't want Lemon juice. Problem with that is, Fruit fresh is relatively expensive compared to lemon juice, so if you need a couple table spoons of it to equal what you'd get out of lemon juice you'd be increasing your production costs.
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#5
One other thing that I did to offset the bite of homemade tomato sauce was to add a touch of sugar when I'm mixing it up. I found that my kids didn't like tomato sauce when it had such a strong bite. So when I make a batch from scratch I'll add maybe an 1/8c of sugar. It removes the bite without it being overly sweet.
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#6
Still makes no sense why tomatoes need this extra care when pressure canned when other low acid foods require none.

This seems to be a very common question. One that never gets a straight answer.
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#7
I think the FDA which ends up approving all home canning processes before the books can go to print is just overly cautious. They have it in their guidelines that the pH of canned foods will be a certain level. So the best solution is to either test each batch with a pH meter, or add the lemon to be completely sure you're in the right region.

Of course, the FDA also says that you shouldn't can meatballs that contain breadcrumbs. Wink

To be honest, I've forgotten lemon juice in batches that I've made, and I'm still alive. Of course, all my sauce when I open a case is brought back up to a boil and held there for a few minutes before I put it back to a simmer. That should kill off any left over buggies.
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#8
streaker69;118305 Wrote:I think the FDA which ends up approving all home canning processes before the books can go to print is just overly cautious. They have it in their guidelines that the pH of canned foods will be a certain level. So the best solution is to either test each batch with a pH meter, or add the lemon to be completely sure you're in the right region.

Of course, the FDA also says that you shouldn't can meatballs that contain breadcrumbs. Wink

To be honest, I've forgotten lemon juice in batches that I've made, and I'm still alive. Of course, all my sauce when I open a case is brought back up to a boil and held there for a few minutes before I put it back to a simmer. That should kill off any left over buggies.

Not really true. Botulism survives temperatures way beyond 212 degrees, just sayin.Wink
Welcome to ObamaNation part deuxUtg
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#9
Was looking around for pH meters, I think this one would work well for most home canning products: http://www.amazon.com/Extech-PH100-ExSti...d+pH+meter

The main issue is operating temperature and this is the lest expensive one with the highest operating temp, 23 to 193F. You could easily test your product before it gets too hot to make sure you're in the correct range, and then decide if you need to add something to increase your acidity.
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#10
God's Country;118308 Wrote:
streaker69;118305 Wrote:I think the FDA which ends up approving all home canning processes before the books can go to print is just overly cautious. They have it in their guidelines that the pH of canned foods will be a certain level. So the best solution is to either test each batch with a pH meter, or add the lemon to be completely sure you're in the right region.

Of course, the FDA also says that you shouldn't can meatballs that contain breadcrumbs. Wink

To be honest, I've forgotten lemon juice in batches that I've made, and I'm still alive. Of course, all my sauce when I open a case is brought back up to a boil and held there for a few minutes before I put it back to a simmer. That should kill off any left over buggies.

Not really true. Botulism survives temperatures way beyond 212 degrees, just sayin.Wink

But isn't there other signs of botulism? If the jar had it, it would have burst it's lid and it probably would be smelling pretty foul if it hadn't popped the top. I think you realize that any time you're dealing with home canning you're looking for those signs before you start to use the product.

Plus if you're pressure canning tomato products you're processing them at around 250F, so that should be killing off any botulism in the jar.
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