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How to Can Tomatoes

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Can summer tomatoes to use for sauces and other winter recipes.

Tomatoes are one of the most abundant summer garden vegetables, and although they are delicious raw, you might end up with more than you can eat. Once you've shared the fresh harvest with friends, canning what's left is an ideal way to save it for other days.


Tomatoes are one of the most abundant summer garden vegetables, and although they are delicious raw, you might end up with more than you can eat. Once you've shared the fresh harvest with friends, canning what's left is an ideal way to save it for other days.

Tomatoes fall in the middle range between high- and low-acid fruits and veggies, so they can be canned either with hot water or pressure. Hot water takes a little longer than pressure canning, but it doesn't require a special pressure canning machine.

Equipment you will need:

  • Jars, lids, seals

  • Large pot for water bath canning

  • Pot to cook tomatoes

  • Pot to heat water/tomato juice

  • Funnel/ladle

  • Tongs


About 7 large cooked tomatoes will fill a 1-quart jar. Any type of tomatoes may be caned, but plum tomatoes (like Romas) are often best for canning because they are meaty tomatoes with fewer seeds and work better in sauces and other recipes that generally use canned tomatoes.

Use your dishwasher's sanitize cycle to prepare the jars. Once the jars are clean, heat up the large stockpot and fill it about halfway with water. Start another smaller pot of boiling water  for sanitizing the lids. Once the water is boiling, dip the lids in the water (using tongs). Start heating another pot of wither water or tomato juice.

Begin prepping the tomatoes by washing them and removing the stems. Drop tomatoes in a third pot of boiling water for about one minute, them plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins. Cut the tomatoes as desired, and fill jars within 1/4-inch of the rim. Add boiling water or hot tomato juice to fill the jars within 1/2 inch of the top. Use a butter knife to poke around in the jar and release any air bubbles.

Put the lids and rings on the jars, securing the ring so it grips but is not extremely tight. Make sure that there is no juice or tomato bits on the rim or you will not get a tight seal. Once the jars are lidded, use tongs to put them upright in the large pot of boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least one inch. Put the lid on the pot and let it boil. If your elevation is at or about sea level, boil the jars for 45 minutes. The time increases slightly for higher altitudes. Add 2 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

When the time is up, carefully remove jars with tongs and let them rest on a counter until they are cool, about 12 to 24 hours. Check that the jars are sealed by pressing on the lid to see if it is sucked down. Store your home canned tomatoes in a cool, dry place
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