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    Canning Tomatoes – How To

    Published September 16, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    Canning tomatoes has never been easier with my easy step-by-step how to instructions, including a recipe and video. Once you start to can your own food, it’s hard to go back.

    The great thing about canned, fresh tomatoes is all the amazing recipes you can use, like my Steak Pizzaiola or Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

    jars of homemade canned tomatoes

    Canning Tomatoes

    Canning tomatoes is a method of preserving tomatoes by hermetically sealing them in glass jars. The use of canning-specific jars and lids is crucial to the success of canning. The process involves peeling the tomatoes, roughly chop them, and then cooking them over low heat until they reach your desired consistency of doneness.

    The canning process involved heating sterilized jars in making sure all the microorganisms that cause spoiling are destroyed, which in return will retain maximum flavor, color, and nutrients. This easy-to-do ago old technique still works beautifully when done correctly and can have an incredibly long shelf life.

    Ingredients and Items You’ll Need

    ingredients for canned tomatoes
    • Tomatoes – You will need fresh tomatoes for this recipe.
    • Jars – Any sized jar with a sealable lid and ring will work.
    • Large Pot – You will need three large pots, one for peeling the tomatoes, one for sterilizing the jars, and one for stewing the tomatoes.

    How to Can Tomatoes

    Remove the stem of each tomato and then slice an X on the bottom of it.

    slicing an X on the bottom of a tomato

    Next, add them to a large pot of boiling water and cook them from 30 seconds to 1 minute or until they start to peel.

    adding tomatoes to boiling water

    Transfer the tomatoes to an ice bath and chill just until cool to the touch. Drain.

    adding tomatoes to an ice bath

    Peel the tomatoes and then roughly chop them.

    chopping peeled tomatoes

    Add the tomatoes to a large pot and stew over low heat for at least 3 hours.

    stewing garden tomatoes in a pot

    While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the canning jars and lids by starting by washing them with hot water and detergent or in the dishwasher.

    washing jars in a dishwasher

    Next, add the jars to a large pot as soon as the water boils with a rack on the bottom and sterilize them for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

    boiling jars

    Turn the boiling water down to a simmer and add the lids and rings and sterilize those for 10 minutes. Let drain on a rack as well.

    simmering lids in water

    With about 10 minutes left in the tomato stewing process, add the jars to the simmering water pot to heat up until ready to fill. This will ensure the jars do not crack.

    boiling jars

    Fill the jars evenly with the tomatoes.

    filling jars with cooked tomatoes

    Wipe the jars clean with a towel.

    wiping the tops of jars

    Cover the jars with a lid and ring and twist with your fingertips until tight to seal properly. Do not over twist, or you will risk denting the seal.

    screwing on the lid of a canned tomato jar

    Place the tomato jars back in the water on the rack and bring to a boil and let boil for 35 minutes. You should hear them “pop,” which will let you know they are sealed. This method is known as water bath canning. See the chef’s notes below. 

    processing jarred tomatoes

    Remove from the hot boiling water using tongs or a jar lifter and cool to room temperature. Store them in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

    resting processed tomatoes

    Do I Need to Add Lemon Juice?

    According to the National Center for Home Preservation, it is advised to use 1 tablespoon of fresh or bottled lemon juice per 1 pint of tomatoes. I do not adhere to this due to it changing the flavor. If you do decide to do this, you may want to add sugar to help offset the lemon flavor.

    Should I Sterilize My Jars if Processing is Longer Than 10 Minutes?

    The USDA states, Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits to be processed in a pressure canner need not be pre-sterilized. It’s also unnecessary to pre-sterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed for 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner.

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this canned tomato recipe several months before you need it.

    How to Store: Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. 

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • Any type of tomato works with this recipe.
    • When cooling the tomatoes, be sure not to let them sit for a long period of time, or else they will become waterlogged.
    • Once the tomatoes are done stewing, you can further blend them if they are not to the consistency that you prefer.
    • You process the tomatoes for 35 minutes in a pint jar or 45 minutes in a quart jar.
    • Feel free to season the tomatoes with a little salt, although it is unnecessary.  
    • You keep a rack on the bottom of the boiling pot of water so that the glass jars don’t knock the bottom of the pot while boiling, subjecting the jars to cracking.
    • Make tomato sauce from these canned tomatoes.
    • Canned tomatoes are good to consume after 24 hours.
    • If you live 1,000 feet above sea level, the water will boil at 210°.
    • There is no need for pressure canning when canning tomatoes due to the high acidity level.

    What to Use Them In

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Canning Tomatoes – How To

    Canning tomatoes has never been easier with my easy step-by-step how-to instructions, including a recipe and video.
    Servings: 32
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 8 pounds of fresh tomatoes
    • 8 pint jars with lids and rings

    Instructions

    • Remove the stem of each tomato and then slice an X on the bottom of it.
    • Next, add them to a large pot of boiling water and cook them from 30 seconds to 1 minute or until they start to peel.
    • Transfer the tomatoes to an ice bath and chill just until cool to the touch. Drain.
    • Peel the tomatoes and then roughly chop them.
    • Add the tomatoes to a large pot and stew over low heat for at least 3 hours.
    • While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the jars and lids by starting by washing them with hot water and detergent or in the dishwasher.
    • Next, add the jars to a large pot of boiling water with a rack on the bottom and sterilize them for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
    • Turn the boiling water down to a simmer and add the lids and rings and sterilize those for 10 minutes. Let drain on a rack as well.
    • With about 10 minutes left in the tomato stewing process, add the jars to the simmering water pot to heat up until ready to fill. This will ensure the jars do not crack.
    • Transfer the tomatoes evenly to each sterilized jar.
    • Wipe the tops of the jars with a towel.
    • Add the lid and ring and twist with your fingertips just until tight. Do not over twist, or you will risk denting the seal.
    • Place the tomato jars back in the water on the rack and bring to a boil and let boil for 35 minutes. You should hear them “pop,” which will let you know they are sealed. See the chef's notes below.
    • Remove from the hot boiling water and cool to room temperature before storing them in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this canned tomato recipe several months before you need it.
    How to Store: Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. 
    Any type of tomato works with this recipe.
    When cooling the tomatoes, be sure not to let them sit for a long period of time, or else they will become waterlogged.
    Once the tomatoes are done stewing, you can further blend them if they are not to the consistency that you prefer.
    You process the tomatoes for 35 minutes in a pint jar or 45 minutes in a quart jar.
    Feel free to season the tomatoes with a little salt, although it is unnecessary.  
    You keep a rack on the bottom of the boiling pot of water so that the glass jars don’t knock the bottom of the pot while boiling, subjecting the jars to cracking.
    Make tomato sauce from these canned tomatoes.
    Canned tomatoes are good to consume after 24 hours.
    If you live 1,000 feet above sea level, the water will boil at 210°.
    There is no need for pressure canning when canning tomatoes due to the high acidity level.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 20kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 269mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 945IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 0.3mg
    Course: sauce
    Cuisine: American, French, Italian