A canned tomato bruschetta topping that results in a surprisingly firm, flavorful topping for bread and salads – it’s like “summer in a jar” all through the winter!
Welcome to September’s Tuesdays In The Garden – our last for this season! Can you believe the gardening season is already winding down? This month my garden friends and I are bringing you preserving ideas for your remaining harvest. I’m sharing an updated recipe for a great way to preserve tomatoes – as a topping for bread and appetizers – and then you’ll find recipes that use apples, pears, peppers, and more tomatoes. Happy making!
When I found this canned tomato bruschetta recipe in a book from the library a few years ago, I was skeptical. I thought the canned tomatoes would turn out mushy and it would be like putting a chunky sauce on your bread. I was intrigued enough by the ingredients (wine, vinegar, garlic, herbs) to try it anyway. And I’m so glad I did – they turned out fabulous!
What is Bruschetta?
But first, let’s talk about what bruschetta is – and isn’t. For many years I thought it referred to the tomato/garlic/sometimes onion mixture you top bread with (like this fresh one I make all during tomato season). Then I read that the bruschetta is actually the toasted bread – which is usually a slice of baguette – that’s been rubbed with a piece of garlic and olive oil before toasting. This can be topped with various things, though it is most commonly tomatoes.
Also, how do you pronounce Bruschetta?
For a while I pronounced it like it looks to me: ‘broo-shet-tuh.’ Then I read that ‘ch’ in Italian is always pronounced with a ‘k’ so now I know to pronounce it ‘broo-sket-tuh’ – and you do, too. 😉
Honestly, you won’t believe how garden-fresh these tomatoes taste in the winter! It really is like “summer in a jar.” Now I try to make at least 10-20 jars each season to use it on bread and also salads when I’m craving tomatoes – and the only thing to be had are the lame store ones.
Boiling Water Canned Tomato Bruschetta Topping
The ingredients are simple and things you’re likely to have on hand. The most important thing about this recipe is to use the firm, paste tomatoes in order to ensure they don’t get mushy while canning. This is not the time to use the wonderful Brandywines or other large heirloom tomato, no matter how good the flavor!
You will also need cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine*, garlic, water, sugar, and dried basil and oregano.
Note: I was out of oregano here, so I substituted a dried Italian seasoning blend. It’s fine to change up the dried ingredients, but don’t mess with the amount of fresh garlic, tomatoes and vinegar when canning recipes like this. This recipe was developed to be acidic enough to be canned and shelf-stable with this ratio of lower acid fresh produce (the tomatoes and garlic) to the acid vinegar (and wine to a degree).
Do I have to use wine?
UPDATE: For those of you I’ve heard from who’d like to try this recipe, but don’t want to cook with wine, this is the substitution I’m suggesting after researching the ph of dry white wine and various vinegars (there is some acidity provided by the wine, so you can’t just replace with water):
Replace the 1 cup of dry white wine (ph of 3.0-3.4) with equal amount of apple cider vinegar (ph of around 3). This keeps the acidity about equal, so doesn’t impact the safety. I would also up the sugar to 3 tablespoons to counteract the stronger vinegar flavor.
This option can also now be found in the printable recipe – click the top or bottom arrows to see.
Simple Steps to Canned Tomato Bruschetta Topping
1. Prepare the tomatoes first, so you know how much you have. For this recipe you’ll need to peel them (see my easier method here) and coarsely chop.
2. Then you’ll want to have your jars washed and warming (this recipe makes about nine half-pint jars), lids washed, and canner full and ready. You can see my full boiling water canning tutorial here or watch the video below:
3. Combine the all the ingredients except the tomatoes in a large pot to boil and keep warm while packing the jars.
4. Using a slotted spoon, pack the tomatoes into hot jars, leaving a generous 1/2-inch of “headspace” (the amount of space between the food and the top of jar). Headspace is very important in canning, as it helps with the vacuum sealing, so always follow the recipe’s directions in this area. Tip: I always push the tomatoes down a bit to fit more in each jar.
5. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jar, covering the tomatoes and being sure to keep the 1/2-inch headspace.
6. Using a plastic spatula, run it around the edge of the jar to remove any air bubbles. The liquid may go down as the bubbles are released, so you may need to add a bit more to keep the 1/2-inch headspace. This is why you remove bubbles with preserves like this – the trapped air can cause the liquid to decrease while canning, which would leave tomatoes exposed.
7. Wipe rim and attach the lids.
8. Place jars in canner, completely covering them by at least an inch and bring to a boil before setting a timer to process the jars 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid, leaving the jars in the canner for 5 minutes (this is optional – it’s a relatively new addition that some recommend and some don’t – see #10 in this NCHFP article – and I often forget).
9. Remove from canner to a towel-lined counter and cool for 24 hours without touching lids before check lids for seal and storing in a cool, dark place.
All that’s left is to enjoy your “summer in a jar” all winter long!
Like some ideas for using this tomato bruschetta?
- Spoon onto bread slices that have been rubbed with garlic and olive oil and toasted.
- Top a cracker that’s been spread with cream cheese or Boursin.
- Toss with tuna, white beans, onions, and olives for a quick salad.
- Add to the top of a green salad.
Click the arrow for the full Canned Tomato Bruschetta recipe (with print options)!
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