How to Can Tomatoes (Without A Canner)

Have you wondered about canning tomatoes, but then been overwhelmed by all the stuff it seems to require and crazy little details you are worried you might get wrong? I feel you. Please allow me to show you how to can tomatoes, without a canner, in the simplest way possible.
Image of How to Can Tomatoes
So maybe you have a garden full of these babies…

Or maybe not. Either way, I would like you to give canning some fresh tomatoes a try this year, so let me show you how to can tomatoes. Because it’s easy and so very rewarding, but mostly because everyone knows that out-of-season tomatoes (while still full of healthy lycopene and therefore worthwhile to eat) are bland, sad, oddly-textured shadows of their ripe summer selves. Industrial tomatoes in general have almost no similarity to a fresh tomato in texture, flavor, and even appearance. Look at these guys from my backyard – they’re soft and lumpy, with lots of funny crags and edges and places I cut off because a worm was in there. My husband even asked me “what’s wrong with them?” Dude, this is what a real tomato looks like!

A tomato like this doesn’t make it to the store, simply because we don’t buy it – we choose an unblemished veggie every time (myself included, it’s just habit), so we end up with a tomato that has made it through a cross country truck ride without a bruise – that’s a hard tomato! It may surprise you to know that tomato was usually picked while still green, then artifically ripened with ethylene gas. Eew! Oh geez, I could go on, I’ll stop, I just find it so interesting. Anyway, I totally buy these tomatoes too, but this year let’s try something new. If you don’t have a plant, you can still go to the farmers market or co-op or organic food store and gather some fresh summer tomatoes and put them away for a rainy or snowy day. Let’s learn how to can tomatoes so we are fortified for winter deliciousness.

Learning how to can tomatoes is a wonderful first canning project as it’s simple and it doesn’t require a pressure canner or even a water bath canner. Let me show you how to can tomatoes without a canner below. If you’re looking for something to make right now with your fresh tomatoes, check this out: How to Make Tomato Soup from Fresh Tomatoes. So easy, so yummy. Let’s move on to canning tomatoes…


First, pick!

I canned roma tomatoes (they are the best for canning) and this variety which is some kind of beefsteak I can’t recall. They are HUGE, averaging 9″ in diameter. Yum.

Also get lemon juice. Fresh squeezed is always great, but the bottled variety works too for canning tomatoes. You don’t need any other ingredients.

You’ll need mason jars and lids. I had pint and liter jars.

And some sparkly nail polish.

Wait no, you don’t need that. But it was Scarlet’s reward for not breaking anything at the narrow-aisled, over-packed fragile-zone that is my local kitchen supply shop that also conveniently sells nail polish.

Now get out your big big stock pot (or canner if you have one). Two stockpots are even better for canning tomatoes, if you have them. And a little pot. Start some water boiling in them as soon as you get ’em out.

And you’ll need jar lifters. There’s really no other safe way to lift the jars without burning yourself.

Some mason jars have lids that separate from the rings, some just have regular old lids. Put the lid (no need to add the ring) in boiling water for 3-5 minutes to sterilize. Leave them in the pot with the lid on until you’re ready to use them.

Theoretically you don’t need to sterilize the jars, because they will sterilize during the canning process, but I do it anyway. You can boil them (put them in the water while it’s cold, then boil so they don’t break) or you can just run them through the dishwasher with no soap. Leave them in there until you need them and time it so they are still warm when you add the tomatoes to them.

So I am going to can them whole for two reasons. One, this allows me to use them for whatever I want to make this winter – I can just dice or crush when I open the jar. 2 – it’s easier to can them whole. The pectin in the tomatoes does chemical stuff to their texture once you start messing with them. I don’t have a chemistry degree to explain it well, but suffice it to say this recipe is only for whole tomatoes – if you want to crush or finely dice them before canning, it would have to be handled a little differently to ensure the texture is right. So I’ll show you how to can whole tomatoes, starting with my romas.

Peeling tomatoes is a breeze. Boil your pot of water and next to it place a big bowl with cold water and ice. Wash your tomatoes, just to get dirt off, don’t go nuts with it cause you’re going to peel them anyway.

Remove the stem. On the bottom, score the tomatoes with an X.

For my super giant tomatoes, I actually used an apple corer, this made it easy!

Boil for a minute (the larger ones took slighty longer, two minutes max)

Remove with a slotted spoon to the ice bath for a few seconds. See how the skins are starting to fall off?

They are split for you.

So just gently wipe/tug them off.

Easy as pie.

Get your giant pot/s boiling again with clean water ASAP.

Place the tomatoes in your warm jars up to 1/2 an inch below the rim.

Give them a squish with a spoon to compact.

Big tomatoes I quartered to fit. Before smoosh:

After smoosh:

Add more tomatoes to within 1/2″ of the top.

Now add lemon juice. They need the extra acidity to keep. For the pints add a tablespoon, for the liters/quarts add 2 tablespoons.

Run your spoon around the edge to loosen up any bubbles and bring them to the surface. If you need to, add boiled water to fill the jars within 1/2″ of the rim.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to remove any tomato, juice, or anything else on there. Anything left on the rim could spoil your tomatoes. Place the lid on top, and screw the rings in place.

Or just wipe and screw the lid on if you have plain lids.

Ready for canning!

You’ll notice the seal on the lid is up, you can push it up and down with your finger. Now we need to process the jars so they are safe to store for up to a year. When we are done, the lid will suck in and we will know they sealed correctly. Then when you go to eat them later, if the seal is popped – toss those babies. It’s a sign bacteria are growing in there and releasing gasses.

We don’t want the jars rattling against each other in our pot and we want some water to get under the jars while they process. You can add a rack if you have one, or use a canner which has an insert for this purpose, but I use a kitchen towel and it works great. You don’t need to put it in until after the water, I just wanted to show you…

So place your still-warm jars in the heating water. Submerge the jars entirely with water 2-3″ above the lids and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, remove the lid of the pot and start your timer for 85 minutes. 85 minutes is processing time between 0-1000 ft altitude. If you are at a higher altitude you will need to increase processing time, see these USDA guidelines for canning tomatoes for processing time at different altitudes. If you hear any jars rattling against each other, add a kitchen towel in between. Check periodically to see that the water level is still above the tops of the jars and add water if necessary.

Remove the jars after 85 minutes (or your increased processing time if you are at higher altitudes) using your jar lifter. Place them somewhere no one will bump or touch them and let them sit to cool, overnight is good. You may hear hissing when you take them out of the water – that’s totally fine. The jars’ seals will still be up at this point, they will suck in as the jars cool.

The next morning, check your jars. Are the seals down? Any leaks? If not, you’re all clear. If you still hear hissing, have jars with the lids still up, or see any leaks, stick them in the refrigerator and use them within a couple of days. Do not try to can them again. If you want to be extra sure your jars are sealed, you can remove the ring from the jar and hold the jar by the lid and it should stay on. You can even reuse the rings and store the jars without rings.

Lady! You just learned how to can tomatoes! How good do you feel?

I had planned to give these all away as gifts, but now I feel strangely hoard-y about them. Like I don’t even want to use them. I want the be sure I have them on hand for thanksgiving and christmas. But I should make some cute labels and bring them as hostess gifts, how lovely would that be?

Think you might trying to learn how to can tomatoes without a canner? Give it a shot! Canning tomatoes is pretty fun!

If you’re looking for something to make right now with your fresh tomatoes, check this out: How to Make Tomato Soup from Fresh Tomatoes. So easy, so yummy.

Here are some other tomato recipes we love: How to Pickle Tomatoes, How to Preserve Tomatoes 3 Simple and Delicious Ways, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad (with tomatoes), and Rainbow Trout Baked in Foil With Tomatoes, Herbs and Spices

Print

How to Can Tomatoes (Without A Canner)

Image of How to Can Tomatoes

Learn how to can tomatoes, without using a canner. A good beginner canning recipe.

  • Author: Jaime
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 85
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

Tomatoes, enough to fill however many quart or pint jars you would like to can.

Canning jars and lids, in any size (pints are standard)

Stock pot

Sauce pot

Jar lifters

Dish towels

Lemon juice

 

 

Instructions

In the sauce pan, boil water. Add lids and boil for approximately 3 minutes to sterilize.

Sterilize jars by boiling (put them in the water cold, then boil) or running in the dishwasher on the sterilize setting.

Peel the tomatoes: Boil a pot of water. Set a bowl of ice water next to it. Remove the stems and score small X’s in the base of the tomatoes with a knife. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water. Boil for one minute, or maybe two maximum. Remove tomatoes and place in the ice water bath. Gently wipe/tug skins off the tomatoes and discard.

Start your stock pot boiling with clean water.

Place tomatoes in warm jars up to 1 inch below the rim. Squish with a spoon to compact, then add more tomatoes up to 1/2″ below the rim.

Add lemon juice. For pints add 1 tablespoon, for quarts add two tablespoons.

Run a spoon around the edge of the jar to loosen up any bubbles and bring them to the surface. If you need to, add boiled water to fill the jars within 1/2″ of the rim.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel (anything left on the rim could spoil your tomatoes.

Place the lid on top, and screw the rings in place.

Add a rack or kitchen towel to the bottom of your stock pot to prevent jars rattling. Place still warm jars in the heating water. Submerge the jars entirely with water 2-3″ above the lids and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, remove the lid of the pot and start your timer for 85 minutes. 85 minutes is processing time between 0-1000 ft altitude. If you are at a higher altitude you will need to increase processing time, see these USDA guidelines for canning tomatoes for processing time at different altitudes. If you hear any jars rattling against each other, add a kitchen towel in between. Check periodically to see that the water level is still above the tops of the jars and add water if necessary.

Remove the jars after 85 minutes (or your increased processing time if you are at higher altitudes) using your jar lifter. Place them somewhere no one will bump or touch them and let them sit to cool, overnight is good. You may hear hissing when you take them out of the water – that’s totally fine. The jars’ seals will still be up at this point, they will suck in as the jars cool.

The next morning, check your jars. Are the seals down? Any leaks? If not, you’re all clear. If you still hear hissing, have jars with the lids still up, or see any leaks, stick them in the refrigerator and use them within a couple of days. Do not try to can them again. If you want to be extra sure your jars are sealed, you can remove the ring from the jar and hold the jar by the lid and it should stay on. You can even reuse the rings and store the jars without rings.

You have learned how to can tomatoes! Congratulations! Enjoy your stash all winter long.

 

Image of canned tomatoes

by

Learn how to can tomatoes without a canner. Canning tomatoes is easier than you think and this tutorial explains it all in detail.

172 Comments

The Queen

I got the canning bug this summer and it is a blast! We canned tons of tomatoes, peach jam and apple butter, red wine jelly, watermelon preserves, and made pickled beets and cucumbers. I bought a small canning set for $50. It's been harder and harder to give our garden produce away since many more people now have their own gardens and I hate tossing it out. Very satisfying.

Reply
Lisa Ann

I just canned tomatoes for the first time this year! I put in a tablespoon each of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and then between the tomatoes I added 4 cloves of garlic and three basil leaves to each jar (fresh from my garden!) then topped each jar with a tablespoon of hot sauce and some salt! They look beautiful in the jar! I'm excited to eat them and am proud that I made them and want to share them… but I'm also feeling hoard-y haha

Reply
kar

As someone who generally loves to play with recipes and change ingredients, I nevertheless want to warn against tinkering with recipes when canning.

To assure food safety, one needs to be really careful about adding anything extra to the tomatoes. I’ve read that some ingredients–especially low-acid foods including peppers, onions, and garlic–can seriously alter the acidity in the wrong direction. I suggest using only recipes that are known to be safe for canning. There are special canning-oriented recipes online for things like marinara sauce, and they say to follow the recipe *exactly* to assure safety.

Reply
Judith G.

@Lisa Ann , I want to second @kar’s caution.
Your recipe sounds delicious, I might just copy it.
But If you use whole cloves, you might end up with a nice case of garlic botulism . I’d mince the garlic- and use a pressure canner to be safe. But, if you didn’t have a pressure canner- I’d freeze the sauce to be safe. Just be sure to use freezer safe containers, or wide mouth straight-neck jars being sure to leave an inch of headroom – otherwise with the expansion of freezing the contents might break the jar. Up until last year I’d fill my freezer with stacks of frozen sauces. Then I started canning with a regular canning pot. But I didn’t too much- bad garden year. This year my garden is doing great, and this year we just got a pressure canner. So now I’ll have cans stacked in my cabinet, and probably still containers in my freezer, lol!

Reply
Pam Booth

I agree!! It’s so much better (and easier) to do just the tomatoes and add your other ingredients when you use the tomatoes. Thanks so much for your directions. My mom was the world’s best canner and I have dreaded doing it for years. I’m doing my first batch now and so far they look great and it’s going well.

Reply
Kate

We just canned our garden tomatoes for the first time last month! We had to do something with the 30 pounds our plants created… 🙂 Wish we had this fancy tutorial before. We went to my husband's grandma's and she taught us, which worked out great anyway, but it was totally new to me. Yay for self-reliance!

Reply
Heather

Thanks for the tutorial.

I just wanted to clear up the Eeww comment on ethylene gas. My husband is a professional produce ripener. He makes a living making sure your bananas, mangos, tomatoes, avocados, etc. are ripe for the eating. Plants produce there own ethylene gas. Therefore, he simply speeds up the natural process that plants go through. Many people assume it's related to what is added to gasoline, but it's entirely different.

Just thought I'd share!

Reply
deede

Oh wow–I didn't realize I could do tomatoes in a water bath!
This weekend, I canned (in a water bath) 15 pints of pepper relish and 12 pints of wild muscadine jelly! My mom would be proud, I think!
I'll have to try tomatoes next; thanks for the tute!

Reply
Sharon (mama to Adam)

I was just getting prepared to do my first canning experience with tomatoes. Thanks for the awesome tutorial. I have to say reading your tutorials is a breeze and doesn't make me feel overwhelmed by a new process.

Reply
Jennifer

The ew probably wasn't necessarily because of the thought of it being gas. With a little research, anyone can find that it's not particularly harmful to use ethylene gas, as it's a natural gas. However, using it externally to ripen our fruits and veggies has been said to eliminate some of the flavor and scent of naturally ripened produce. Now, I don't mind too much either way when it comes to that, but thought I would add my two cents to your two cents, Heather (above comment). So it may just be that people notice a difference flavor-wise! 🙂

I think the canning here looks way more simple than I ever thought it would be. This makes me want to can stuff REALLY BAD! I have never done it but want to try!

Reply
Sherry

I can like a champ, but why oh why didn't I ever think to use a towel when I didn't have a rack for the pot?! Something new learned. Thanks gals!

Reply
Line

That is the tutorial I have been looking for all summer! Thank you so much for sharing.
One question though (to anybody reading this comment, not only Jaime!): should the jars be covered with water at the beginning, or should the lids remain above water level?
Thanks a million
linedupuy(at)hotmail(dot)fr

Reply
Kathy

I remember my grandmother canning so many items and storing them in her basement. It was like a colorful grocery store down there. Such yummy stuff as well. I think I could give this a try as I have 3 tomato plants this year. Thanks for all this work in sharing.

Reply
How To Can Tomatoes | My Family Blog

[…] What’s great about this tutorial is that it breaks down everything you need to do without getting too wordy. Just simple and direct and easy enough for this cannon novice to pull off. Check out Jaime from Prudent Baby and her How To Can Tomatoes tutorial. […]

Reply
AmyM

You can make your own canning rack by wiring a few canning rings together to put at the bottom of your pot.

Reply
Cynthia Bragg

I love your photos and clear instructions. I ran into rouble though putting tomatoes that had cooled into a hot jar(FROM THE OVEN)and my jar broke. I had brought the water in the pot to boil the jars of tomatoes to a boil but my jars had cooled too much to put in so I had to dump a lot of water out and start fresh and then it took forever to bring the pot of tomatoes to a boil again, so all in all it took me 6 hours to can 7 litres of tomatoes so I need to find a way to make this much more efficient. I took my jars out a few minutes ago and I’m glad you told us about the hissing. I hope they all turn out. Why do they have to be in the bath for so long?

Reply
Erin

Thanks so much! First time canning, and I was looking for an easy guide with pictures. I currently have my first batch hissing on the shelf. =)

Reply
Janice Montecalvo

FYI: You really do need to sterilize your jars and anything else used in the canning process….tongues, spatula to remove bubbles, rings.. etc. How can the jars get sterilized once the lids are on? How can the boiling water get inside the sealed jars to sterilize the inside? I use some bleach in my water with a little soap and give the jars a good scrub, rinse well, then place them in my oven at 225 degrees and only use the tongs (which are sterilized) to remove them. Botulism is a nasty bug and you really do need to be careful when you are canning. (One course in Microbiology and you will be a germ freak too!) I have been canning for years and I want to make sure my product doesn’t get anyone sick. Blessings, Janice

Reply
Kara

The reason the jars will be sterilized after the tomatoes are sealed in the jars is that the jars with the tomatoes are boiled for so long that it kills anything biological that might be in the jars. Don’t worry – after 85 minutes nothing harmful would survive! My husband teaches microbiology, and we do our canning together. Very often we just scrub out the jars really well without even pre-sterilizing them, since they’ll be sterilized in the boiling water bath. Have fun canning!

Reply
Grama's Lil Canner...

FYI-a myth commonly used by most people is that adding bleach to soapy water will actually be better that just using one by itself. According to the science, the chemicals in each one will CANCEL out the effects of the other one when used together. So you are in effect, just using plain water!! If you are looking to sterilize, jars in 165 degree water for 15 seconds or washing with warm soapy water, rinse off the soap and dip in 1 tsp bleach in 1 gal of water, let air dry. Don’t use scented bleach tho!!

Reply
Melanie

Yes. You can use any large pot that will boil liquid! I have used my Dutch oven pan for canning small jars. This is just a water bath canning, so anything that will hold the jars and enough water over them will work just fine. Repurposing the crab steamer is a great idea!

Reply
Diana L.

Just bought a basic canning kit from the store this morning, and picked a bunch of ripe tomatoes out of my garden. About to can my first tomatoes today with your tutorial!

Reply
debbie

I have a comment. When growing up I watched both my mother and grandmother can tomatoes and they took a totally different approach. After peeling the tomatoes they would cut them depending on what they were to be used for. (Usually in quarters). They would put them in a pot and bring them back to boiling and sterilize both the jars, taps and lids. They would put the hot tomatoes in the jars to the normal space, add about a tsp of salt. Wipe off the jars, put hot lids on and screw down. Then they would turn them upside down to cool. You could hear them popping all over the house. They had very few that didn’t seal. But I don’t know if it would work now with all the low acid tomatoes.

Reply
Lauren

Debbie, have you tried that process? That’s how I essentially just made a batch of freezer jam and the fruit did well, but then again we are freezing.

Also, just had my first tomato canning experience and do not know why the tomatoes have separated up from the liquid in the jars. Thoughts?

Reply
Benita

I just canned my first batch Lauren, and it did the same thing. Anyone have an answer for this?

Reply
Kelsey

Hi there. I just canned a batch of tomatoes for the first time and one of the bottoms of my jars completely broke off from the rest of the jar. Have you had this happen before? It was a clean cut at the very base. I am thinking it might have been due to a defect in the jar. Any ideas?

Reply
Kathy

Hi,
I just took my 9 pint jars of tomatoes out of the water bath and it looks like they leaked or something. The tomatoes were juicy. I couldn’t help that. I’m just grateful to get them to grow in the high desert. Anyway there appears to be 1/2 to 1″ of water in the bottom of the jars and there was a little tomato coloring in the canning water. The tomatoes did cool off during the peeling process. These just don’t look right! Help!

Reply
Kathy

I checked with an old friend who does canning and freezing every year and she said that the tomatoes separated because they were “cold packed”. She heats hers up after peeling to get them good and hot. Not really cooking them. I think that is probably how my grandmother did them, too!

Reply
Emily

Worked today on canning! Thanks for the great tutorial!! Most have sealed… Hope as the finish the rest do!!!

Reply
Hannah Whitney

I have improvising my own water bath container for several years but your tips made it so easy!! Dishcloths as separators – FABULOUS! I have 3 gallons of tomatoes that I will finish today. Thanks for your help.

Reply
Sarah

Hi, I usually Google everything but I keep running into sites that talk about leakage AFTER processing. I tried to can tomatoes and noticed that during the process of the water bath the water became slightly discoloured. Like the tomato juice had slightly leaked out a bit. Is that normal? It is cooling now I don’t see any leakage right now. Also, all the tomatoes are pushed up to the top and there is water/juice on the bottom (I’m using quart jars). And the water/juice looks lower than it was with the tomatoes pushed to the top of the lid above the water/juice. I had squished the tomatoes down, added the lemon juice, got rid of the air, and added boiling water to where the jar goes “in” to the same level as the screw part. A little lower than where you screw it, but the part where it’s the same width as the screw part (if that makes sense).

Reply
Linette Greene

For those having problems with siphoning (liquid sucking out) try leaving the jars in the hot water for about five or ten minutes to let the temps equalize a bit. You also might not be leaving quite enough headspace, as contents can swell a bit with the heat.

For those with broken jars–hot product into hot jars into hot water….equalize temps as much as possible. Thermal shock can crack the glass. It is also possible that there was a flaw in the jar, which can cause the bottom to break like that. Small hairline cracks are not always obvious. Also, when they boil, they can knock together. I know a lot of people use a towel in the bottom, but there seems to be a higher failure rate with that method as it does not allow the water to circulate as freely underneath. Another quick and easy way to make a raised surface is to tie some canning rings together and use that under the jars.

Reply
The Summer of Tomatoes |

[…] did a quick google search and found my answers immediately. I found this post from Prudent Baby on how to can tomatoes without a canner. It’s honestly as simple as peeling the tomatoes (which is unbelievably easy, and that post […]

Reply
Jessica

Thank you for these instructions! I just canned my second batch of tomatoes from our garden and boy do I feel accomplished! I was terrified I would mess everything up but your directions gave me confidence. I thought it would be so much more difficult. Thanks again!

Reply
Lauren

Thank you thank you for such a thorough tutorial! I just found a dozen quilted mason jars at Salv Army for $3.50, and just had to invest, knowing I’d find something to do with them…. this is it! I’ve never canned before, because I thought you had to have tons of special equipment. Excited to give this a whirl!

Reply
Keith

I followed the directions here, and I JUST pulled the jars out of water for 85-90 minutes and it looks like the tomatoes have risen to the top, liquid on the bottom, and the lid seems to have made a dent like spot in cover if you know what I mean, is this just part of the cooking method inside? will this settle inside? Are the jars okay???

Reply
Amber Renee

I really enjoyed your article. It’s written in such a simple and friendly tone. I also love the great photos. This is my first year growing tomatoes and I can’t wait until harvest season. I will definitely be bookmarking this page and printing it later to be my guide during my first canning project. Thanks!

Reply
Patti Payne

Do you leave them upright or turn them upside down after you pull or of the bath?

Reply
Lisa

I had to laugh at what your husband said about the appearance of your homegrown tomatoes because I have been around homegrown tomatoes my whole life and have never seen tomatoes look like yours either. Maybe yours is a different variety than I am used to. Anyway, I love home canned tomatoes and I was looking for a tutorial to can with a stock pot. Thanks!

Reply
Kari Taber

I successfully grew my first veg garden this year. As it turns out, I have a gree thumb! Lots of tomatoes growing, excited to try canning for the first time. Thanks for these instructions, I will follow them exactly. Can’t wait to eat garden grown tomatoes in the winter!n

Reply
Jaime

Sounds wonderful! It’s so exciting to have your first big veggie garden! You will love using the tomatoes in the winter.

Reply
PJ Hendrixson

I just canned my tomatoes and forgot to run knife around edge to get the air bubbles out. Will that affect my tomatoes? Do I need to store them or use them fairly soon?

Reply
Sharri Sesslin

New to canning but I feel after canning 48 lbs of tomatoes I’m ready for the next batch! Thanks for your step by step instructions. My jars all sealed so do I have to worry about spoilage at this point? I don’t want to be afraid to eat anything I can.

Reply
Jennifer

I just finished the process.!! Excited to see how they turn out the jars are cooling……I followed the directions exactly…I did 6 pints jars…..I’m new to canning and freezing… Just moved to the south and just trying things to get ready for the winter and maybe fine some new hobbies. So far I pickled cucumbers, canned green beans and now tomatoes next week I’ll try pear preserves ….pray for me!!!!

Jen

Reply
staci

can you use vinegar instead of lemon juice? or would that make soups/recipes taste funny?
also, boiling for so long, do you have to add water?? to make sure over the cans….

Reply
Patsy Johnson

Yes you can use vinegar. I suggest you follow instructions on the ball.com canning site or purchase a Ball canning manual at your local hardware store.

Reply
pam

Hopefully the green beans were in a pressure canner? 🙂 Unless they were pickled.

Reply
Nancy

Probably a dumb question, but does “processing” mean to let them continue to boil for 85 minutes? Also new to this whole canning thing. Thanks

Reply
phan nhuom toc

Nice This is amazing .
I love the way you write,I really like this.
These are excellent tips. this stuff is amazing.
Thank for sharing this awesome post. This will help me so much. im a fan of your blog :>

Reply
Juan

Jaime,
I also used 1 oz. of fresh squeezed lime juice on top of 16 oz. jars, will that not work?
I know that you should use a pressure canner for anything that is not acidy.
Thank you for this wonderful post!

Juan.

Reply
Meagan

My jars have 30 more minutes of boil time. Not only is this the first year my husband and I have put out a garden, but it is also our first time canning. Needless to day we are very excited. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. Fingers crossed they seal 🙂

Reply
Jessi

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this info! It was my first time canning like so many others and when the lids sealed I did my happy dance. Homegrown tomatoes have been my favorite since I was about 2 so I can’t wait to have them available throughout the winter! Thanks again!

Reply
Jaime

You are welcome!! I love hearing from people who tried it for the first time. it’s addicting! Wait until you try our jam recipes. You might not leave the kitchen until Halloween!

Reply
Nellie

Hi! Great site and awesome instructions! I canned a 1L jar of tomatoes, cold-packed (into a warm jar), and the liquid separated hugely. I’m wondering, were your tomatoes cold when you put them into the jar? It doesn’t look like they separated very much, and I’m wondering what your trick is? I have a large amount of tomatoes to can now that more of them are ripening. I don’t have a pressure canner, so I’m not going to be able to stew the tomatoes, I’ll have to can them whole or halved. Any advice? Thanks!

Reply
Phyllis

I just finished my first batach, waiting to see if they seal. What if they are more than 2 inches from the top, will it still work anf if not can I use these tomatoes right away?

Reply
Jaime

IF they are more than two inches from the top that is not ideal, but if they seal you are okay (unless the seal breaks before you use them). And yes, if they don’t seal, you can throw them in the refrigerator and use them within a couple days. Good luck!

Reply
Leslie

Hi! I loved your recipe but I do have one question: after boiling the jars and lids to sterilize, is it really necessary to start with fresh water and re-boil for the 85 minute processing? It was time consuming and I was concerned about the jars cooling down in between filling them up and placing them into the pot again. Couldn’t I have just placed the jars into the hot water each time I filled one up with the tomatoes and then start the processing of getting up to a boil again with nice hot water? Thank you!

Reply
Leslie

Thank you! I didn’t see your reply in time so I went ahead and tried it over the next two weekends and it worked perfectly and much more quickly.

I am now the proud owner (consumer) of 9 quarts of very yummy Jersey tomatoes- love them as much as Mike!

Reply
mike

Ok, The Jersey Tomatoes this year are UN BELIEVABLE!!! They are thick, big and very meaty. So I decided to can some for the 1st time. followed your recipe to the letter. I think everything worked out well, however, I have two questions.
1. Unlike your pictures of the final result, I have about an inch or more of clear liquid at the bottom of my jars. Is this normal, especially since I did not use Roma Tomatoes?
2. Is it normal to have some air in the can? I turned one upside down and saw that the can still had some air in it. The seal is very tight and the lids are not popping up.

Thanks!

MIke

Reply
mike

Thank You!
I certainly don’t wan to ruin these PERFECT Jersey Tomatoes!
It is interesting how we leave only a half inch at the top before the lid goes on, and after the 85 minutes and cooling time, there is about an inch of air, especially when you turn it upside down!

When putting the lids on, we installed them “finger tight” per the instructions on the box. Is this what you do as well?

But thank you for getting back to me. I think I am going to do some more this weekend.

Reply
Perpetua

Thank you for the wonderful and well documented information. Do you refrigerate after canning or you leave them outside?

Reply
Jaime

No need to refrigerate after proper canning and getting a good seal. You can just put them on the shelf in the pantry until you open them. Refrigerate after opening.

Reply
Jaime

As long as you sterilize it and have a fresh new lid that fits it. (you need the new lid for it to properly seal)

Reply
D Duncan

I see you used fresh lemon when in fact you should have used RealLemon because it is tested to always have the correct acidity whereas you don’t really know with fresh.

Reply
jill

Hi, thanks for all the info. Can you please tell me if the same process works for pasta sauce and tomato soup? Thanks
Jill

Reply
Timothy Glenn Haught

My mother taught me years ago to can.we always remove the skins and put the tomatoes in a kettle and cook them down.then we fill the jars and put the lids and rings on and let them seal,no water bath.

Reply
pam

Just a note, it’s not okay to use fresh lemon juice in place of the bottled lemon, as the acidity in lemons varies quite a bit. 🙂

Reply
Jodi Owens

I just want to say thank you for this canning tomato recipe. I canned my first time ever with this information. It was very helpful to me. I canned 30lbs of tomatoes. Which gave me 6 quarts & 5 pints. It felt great learning how to do this. Thank you again.

Reply
Lori

i tried canning tomatoes for the first time today! they have been cooling for about 3 1/2 hours. I put the extra boiling hot water because i was concerned they weren’t full enough and now the water is on the bottom and tomatoes on top. will they settle out?

Reply
Monica

Thank you for this canning info. I also have lots of tomatoes I want to can. I will be following your blog!

Reply
Debbie

Can this be done with store bought ones? I just started a veggie garden and tomatoes but would like to know about storebought will be trying this way

Reply
Rebecca Morsching

Hello! Thanks for sharing such detailed information. I am new at canning. I am a little confused about the following:

“Run your spoon around the edge to loosen up any bubbles and bring them to the surface. If you need to, add boiled water to fill the jars within 1/2″ of the rim.”

Do you not add the boiling water unless you don’t have enough tomatoes to fill the jar? Or, do you add the boiling water to every jar no matter what?

Kind regards, Rebecca.

Reply
Joie

Hi! I think I’ve messed mine up…..
I don’t know what I was thinking, but I was so stuck on that 1/2″ of space thing that I didn’t fill my jars all the way. They sealed properly but there’s a lot of air space in them. Are they still good?

Reply
Sharon Reed

You’re not supposed to boil the lids, you boil the water, turn off the heat and put the lids in. Also, you need to make sure you cut out all the green or the tomatoes will spoil.

Reply
Sandy

Just made my first batch of tomatoe sauce… A little confused about covering the water bath canning pot. The instruction that came with the canning pot says bring to boil and cover for recommended time but your instructions say uncovered…. Which is the proper way or does it matter?

Reply
Courtney

Hi! I just tried canning for the first time with some organic Roma tomatoes I grew. I only had a few and I only had a normal size Mason jar so I followed your steps exactly (even adding lemon juice) and since I only had enough tomatoes to really fill half way, I filled the rest of the jar with remaining boiled water. Is that ok or will they not keep unless the jar is filled only with tomatoes?

Thanks,
Courtney

Reply
Gayle

If I used citric acid instead of lemon juice how much should i put in each mason jar?

Reply
Maggie

It’s the morning after I followed these “how to can” instructions and…I’d say success! I only had one jars worth because we’ve been relatively good about eating them but I’m very excited! Thank you so much for sharing! The only issue I had was my stove was sagging badly from the heavy pot. Any tips on that? Otherwise, perfect!

Reply
Happi

Dat was gud.pls can i use bama bottle with plastic lid.can i add fresh lemon juice.how long would it last

Reply
Jackie Smith

Hi I’m going to try your recipe. My first time canning:) I have a question, can I add kosher salt to them. Thanks

Reply
Sherrill

I have recently had terrible attack of diverticulisis. I would like to try canning tomatoes taking seeds out. Noted your instructions on using whole tomatoes. I have been taking seeds out for a sandwich. Lot of trouble, but safer for me. I want the tomatoes for pasta frijoles and soups without seeds. Do you know instructions if tomatoes are sorta of sliced to remove seeds

Reply
Kat

I just bought 3 tomato plants that are suitable for pots from Lowe’s a few days ago. I figured I would start researching canning early to know what I need to have on hand since by the time they are ready for harvest I will probably have too many to handle at once. I don’t know though. I’ve never grown produce before. Seems easy to do with these instructions.

Reply
Deborah Cleckley

I tried your recipe yesterday. My first time solo canning. Turned out 5 quarts of beautiful tomatoes that will make our winter soup so much better this year. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Mary

Thank you for posting this. Every other article I found online required bushels of tomatoes and complex tools. I just wanted to preserve the output of my garden this year the way I remember my mom doing. She used to store the jars in my closet since our little suburban post-war home didn’t have a basement or pantry. i remember fondly seeing those jars on the closet floor and waiting anxiously for the chili, spaghetti sauce and other lovely dishes they would be used for.

Reply
Jo

Great post! I’m doing my first jams and tomatoes this year! Hey btw that link you provided for the government guidelines on higher altitudes is a bad gateway.

Reply
Rebecca Stewart

Well I just did my first tomatoes I sure hope they are good lot of work .THEY are in water boiling now have 30 minutes then they will be done . This is easier then I thought it would be . Thank you all for the help.

Reply
Susan Pacheco

Would this be the same procedure, boiling for 85 minutes if I were canning sun dried tomatoes in olive oil? My cherry tomato plants are producing literally 1000’s of tomatoes and I can’t give any more away. Would love to bottle for gifts and use later. Also going to make a tomato pesto and try canning that.

Reply
Jaime

This method won’t work for sun dried tomatoes, I’m sorry! You can check the USDA website to see if they have instructions. I would pack them in oil.

Reply
Sara

This is a wonderful recipe. Thank you so much for the great pictures. I have one suggestion. Put a cutting board on an edged cookie sheet. Peel and quarter the tomatoes over this. Pour the juice that accumulates on the cutting board into the jars instead of boiling water (to fill them up).

Reply
L

Thank you…..great instructions, comments and pictures. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Reply
Carol Ann Clark

OK..some years late on your post, but can i add garlic and basil?? or any other herbs? Thank you.

Reply
Ba Ku

CHANGE IN CANNING PROCEDURE – the USDA no longer advises boiling lids. I the lid is overheated in boiling water, it can cause the plastisol in the lid to thin out. If that happens, you either get a poor seal (that fails later on the pantry shelf) or no seal at all.

Now they recommend using them at room temperature. I wash them in warm, soapy water, rinse, and let dry. You should never heat them above 180 degrees F.

http://www.livinghomegrown.com/changes-in-canning-lid-procedures/

“After many years of research, it was determined that preheating Ball and Kerr lids is no longer necessary. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs equally well at room temperature as it does preheated in simmering water (180 degrees Fahrenheit). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed.

Reply
paula thefox (@slvrfx1111)

I’m an old-timer who’s been canning for many years. In my experience with thousands of jars of maters, processing them for 85 minutes will definitely see the level of juices in the jars drop way back, to even the shoulders of the jars. Can’t process that long without losing a couple inches. I doubt if the jars you showed at the end, had been processed. This always happens.

Reply
Susan

I see by the comments that some people are concerned about separation ……if you boil the jars of tomatoes too hard it will do that too. A low rolling boil works for me…..for over 50 years.
I also see that for liability reasons you are giving out some unique teachings. Jars of tomatoes are good for years! Fully ripe red tomatoes do not need extra acid. Yellow tomatoes do or other low acid tomatoes.
You need to remove the jar ring the next day so you don’t put your cans in the basement and have the ring rust on and you have to destroy the ring to get the jar open.
The Ball Blue canning book gives you step by step instructions.
You boil tomatoes for 45 minutes for quarts…….
It is a huge short cut if you can your tomatoes with the skins on. Wash, cut out blossom end, quarter tomatoes and stuff the jars.
Process. At first I would put the tomatoes in a blender when I opened the jar to hide the skin until the family got used to it. Figure about 20 quarts to a bushel. For a family of 6 you may want to can up to 50 quarts.

Reply
Corrie

Hi Susan! I appreciate your additional instructions. I’ve never canned before but was hoping to try the boiling method. Can you tell me more about your process and how you can?

Reply
Gina

I’m confused. If I’m canning quarts do I process (water bath method) for 45 minutes or 85? 85 minutes seems like a long time.

Reply
Angela

according to Ball Blue Book and USDA you process pints for 35 min. and quarts for 45 min in a water bath.

Reply
Julia

I just removed mine from the boiling water stage and they have what looks to be an inch of water at the bottom, is this normal?

Reply
Laurie

It’s really best to use a wooden chopstick or plastic spatula to remove the air bubbles in your jars. Using a metal spoon or knife may scratch the glass, which can create hairline fractures that cause the jar to explode during processing.

Reply
Gina

Can I print off the recipe? Am I missing the link? Can’t bring my computer in the kitchen 😉

Reply
Kenneth

Thanks so much for sharing your method. My wife took a tomato slice, put dirt in a pie pan, set the tomato on it and covered it with more dirt. We kept the soil moist for the duration. Over 40 plants came up. I couldnt believe that a cold storage tomato would perform like it did. Try it!

Reply
Wendy Tremblay

This was so helpful! I was apprehensive to try to can , but was a breeze! Thank You!! Wendy

Reply
Rhoda Rainey

Thanks for the easy method. I grew up in the country and helped in the garden and with the canning but I was so young and that was 30 yrs ago. I don’t have a single family member who cans anymore.

Reply
Teresa J

I love your instructions and explanations sprinkled with a sense of humor. I will definitely try your method. I wish ito wasn’t too dark for me to go out & pick more tomatoes from my garden like I should’ve earlier. Guess I have to wait til morning. It’ll be my day to open!

Reply
Fran

If your jar, rings, lids, and tomatoes are all boiling…. can you just turn them upside down on a towel and let them seal? My mom did that for years when I was a girl… I am now 64 and I just canned 14 jars of juice, 12 jars of seasoned tomatoes and 10 jars of whole roma tomatoes this way… they are all sealed and doing good. Also, I never heard of the lemon juice thing… I did not do it to any of my jars.I have kept my jars for way over a year.

Reply
Lynda

My pot is not big enough to cover jars with boiling water can I submerge my jars of tomatoes up side down in the water?

Reply
Becky

Fran, The reason they say to use “bottled” lemon or lime juice or vinegar that has 5% Acidity is because the new hybrid tomatoes are less acidic than the tomatoes we grew when we were children helping our parents & grandparents. I’ve been told not to use fresh lemon or limes because the acid in the fresh fruit isntnt always consistent so you should use bottled lemon or limes so their acid strength is consistent with vinegar. Vinegar is cheaper to use. 1 Tablespoon for a pint, 2 Tablespoons for a quart. I never taste the vinegar. If I’m making salsa i use bottled lime juice & apple Cider Vinegar. No difference between white or Apple Cider Vinegar along as they say 5% acidity.

Reply
Karen

My mom canned hundreds of jars of tomatoes like this every year. Brings back some pretty amazing childhood memories. My hands were small so I got to be in charge of washing out every jar beforehand. Gardening at our house was a family affair- our basement steps were lined with jars being processed before being put on the storage shelf. My mom would get so excited every time another jar would make a loud “pop” when it sealed. Thanks for your humor!!

Reply
Robert Jacobson

Thanks for the post. I kept referring to it as I canned my first 12 quarts of tomatoes (2 jars at a time). The messes got smaller and easier to clean up as I progressed. Questions:
1) The farmers market where I got the tomatoes said adding lemon juice was a “matter of preference”. The neighbor who has been canning for years said the additional acid was necessary to prevent botulism. Your thoughts?
2) If I put them in hot water to remove the skins, does it remove the vitamins? The longer I boiled them the easier the skins came off. But am i boiling away vitamins also?
3) What happens when we can for the 85 minutes? Is it a matter of sterilizing everything? Or are we cooking the tomatoes?
4) If bacteria is releasing gasses that lift the lid, doesn’t that take a while to happen?
Thanks for a great post. It gave me confidence to can (and hoard) a dozen quarts of tomatoes for the first time.

Reply
cathie

Cathie
Jamie, than you so much for all the work you’ve done. This guided me through the process without a hitch; they’re boiling now! Thank you again.

Reply
Joan

My mother canned tomatoes in this manner for years, but did not boil them for 85 minutes, skipped that step completely. 30 quarts and all sealed fine

Reply
Linda

Great post. Definitely going to try this method. My mom canned for years. I’m not sure if she used lemon juice or not. But, I believe it will be a good thing. Great website. was looking for mug cake recipes. LO’ & behold I found your site. So, great day after all.

Reply
Doris Lovelady

In the process of making some.. Got them in the 85 min. stage. Fingers crossed!!! Easier than I thought it would be using your method.. Thanks for posting this… I have pinned this to my page..☺

Reply
Diann W.

I have canned my tomatoes and realized that I forgot the lemon juice. What do I do? Do I just have to use them right away?

Reply
Mia

My Italian mom never put lemon juice in her canned tomatoes. If you processed properly then they are fine!

Reply
Fern

Can boiling hot sauce be poured into hot sterilized jars,capped with hot sterilized lids and screwed down without further processing?

Reply
Jaime

According to the USDA, that wouldn’t be safe if you plan to store the jars at room temp for any amount of time (longer than a week in your fridge). I couldn’t advise it – the risks of botulism are too high!

Reply
Corwin

I have been canning with my Sicilian grandfather since I was 5,i am 47 now and he has left us a few years ago. I keep his tradition going. But we can slightly different than this step by step but we also make puree and not whole tomatoes so I would like to get some opinions. We clean and heat the jars in the dishwasher before we fill them. We also do a very hot water bath for the tomatos to clean them. Then we cut them in 1/4’s to make sure there aren’t bad ones. We do a first boil to soften them. Then we use a electric grinder to make a puree. We take that pot and reboil it a second time. It has a spigot that we use to fill the warm sometimes hot jars very quickly while the pot is on a slow boil. We then transfer the jars to a table and line them up so each one keeps the others hot for longer periods of time and we also cover them with heavy blankets to keep the heat in. They are all filled within 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the rim. We leave them for several hours to cool.

We don’t use lemon juice either. Just a small leaf of basil in each jar.

Now in 40+ years I have had a few jars lose seal and of course we toss them. But I have never Boiled the jars after I had put the tomatos in them since we are boiling them twice. I am curious to see if others have similar methods or experience.

Reply
Jaime

I feel like Sicilian grandfathers know what they’re doing! We follow the USDA guidelines here, but I would love to eat your grandather’s tomatoes!

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *