How To: Can Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes

I am a beginner when it comes to canning veggies and fruits. I have only canned tomatoes on my own so far. Last fall was the first time I had ever even canned tomatoes on my own. Growing up I had helped my mom and grandma plenty of times, but never with out someone holding my hand. Tomatoes are a great thing to start with though. Since this is the second year I have canned them I have learned a few things, and of course tomatoes are super easy. Last year I didn’t use a ice cold sink full of water to cool the tomatoes off after boiling them. Be sure to do this. I learned that the hard way. I remember last year my hands were literally burned from peeling tomatoes because I didn’t chill them afterwards. This year I didn’t miss that step.

One other thing I learned is I need a dish washer. The little house we are living in right now doesn’t have one. Come next year though we will be moved into a new house, with a dish washer. You want your jars nice and hot before packing the tomatoes into them. Since I don’t have a dishwasher I just have them in hot water after washing them very well. Anyways, my point is that it would be a quicker process if you can use a dishwasher, but it can be done in a small kitchen with no dishwasher at all. Anyone can can tomatoes, I promise you!

Canned tomatoes can be used for so many things as  well. Some of the things I use them for are stews, soups, spaghetti, lasagna, and sort of pasta. The sky’s the limit with canned tomatoes!

This recipe is very easy, the only thing you really must be sure of is to make sure your jars are sterilized properly in order for the food within to keep bacteria free over the coming months.


What you will need:

Wide mouth Quart canning jars

I like to use the wide mouth quart jars because they are easier to get your hand in the jar to push the tomatoes in.

You need to sterilize the jars: You can either run them through the dish washer, leave them in the hot dishwasher and take one out at a time as you fill them with tomatoes. After you fill them with tomatoes put them in your water bath canner that has hot water but not boiling in it. Canning jars are sturdy, but to be safe you don’t want to put a cold jar into boiling water.

I have found that you need one quart jar for every three pounds of tomatoes.

You’ll also need rings and lids. I always by new lids, but reuse rings. The lids need to be sterilized as well. I put them in boiling water while I am getting the jars ready.

You could use a jar lifter and a funnel, but they are not necessary.

Lemon juice


measuring spoons


ice and water

water bath canner

one small pot to sterilize lids and one large pot to boil tomatoes


Processing the Tomatoes:

This recipe is for tomatoes canned in their own juices:

First sterilize your jars in your dishwasher or wash in hot water, then place them in your water bath full of hot water but not boiling. If you use the dishwasher way just leave the jars in the dishwasher and remove them one at a time as you fill them with tomatoes.



Place 5-6 tomatoes in the pot of boiling water for at least 60 seconds or until you see the skins peeling. Immediately take them out of the boiling water and place them in the sink full of cold icy water to stop the cooking. The skins should come off very easily once cooled. Sometimes you might need a knife to get the stubborn ones.



Place the skins in the other side of your sink. I like to cut my tomatoes into fourth or half  before placing them in the jars. Add a few tomatoes then add your lemon juice and salt. I add 1 Tablespoon of salt and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar. If you are doing pints to half of that. Fill your jars until you have a few inches left to the top. Pack them in with your hands to get as many as you can in there.



Take the lid out of your boiling water with a fork and carefully place it on top the jar. Be sure to line it up right.  Then put the ring on tightly. Then place them in the rack of your water bath. The one I used was a 7 quart water bath, so the rack could old 7 quarts at a time.



Turn the heat up to high on your burning. Once the water is boiling set your timer for and hour and twenty minutes to process the tomatoes.


When your timer goes off remove the jars from the water bath canner and place on a towel on the counter. Make sure to not have the jars touching each other. Once the jars begin to cool you will hear the lids pop. This means they have sealed.  Now you can enjoy your yummy garden tomatoes all year long!