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How to Can Tomatoes Recipe


  • 9 lbs tomatoes
  • Several sprigs of oregano and basil
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Salt or sugar to taste


  • Prepare Your Tomatoes
    Begin by bringing a large stockpot of water to a boil. You should wash your tomatoes while you are waiting for the water to boil. If the tomatoes have any bad spots, you can cut them out now or wait until after you have blanched them.
    Place your tomatoes in the boiling water and allow them to cook for one minute - or when you notice the skin peeling off. Put the tomatoes in an ice bath to cool. Wait for them to cool down completely so you don’t burn yourself!
    ice bath for tomatoes
  • Prepare Your Jars and Canner
    I always prepare my jars while the tomatoes are still being heated, blanched, chilled, and peeled. If you have a partner to help you out during your canning, this is a serious plus. One person can sanitize and heat the jars while the other works on processing the tomatoes.
    You need to heat your jars by warming them either in a hot water bath or running them through your dishwasher on hot. You will need to do the same thing for your bands. Remember, you can reuse jars and bands for an unlimited number of uses between seasons - but you cannot reuse your lids. Always start with brand-new lids to avoid any issues with them sealing.
    While your jars are being warmed and cleaned, you should also prepare your canner. A water bath canner is the best type of canner to use for tomatoes, but you will need to make sure you have enough water simmering int he canner. You will need enough to totally cover the jars once they are submerged.
    In this article, I will give you instructions on how to can in a water bath canner. You can also choose to can tomatoes in a pressure canner, but I don’t recommend it - it will take longer and is not necessary. However, if you choose to can in a pressure canner, you will adjust your processing times to match the system. Look up another recipe for canning tomatoes in a pressure canner because you will need to adjust the recipe as you can fit more jars, too.
    jars in hot water bath
  • Fill Your Jars
    Once your jars are ready and your tomatoes are cooked, peeled, and quartered, it’s time to start canning. Make sure your jars are hot and clean.
    Fill each jar. Start by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice and some herbs, salt, and sugar (again, to taste) to each jar. I usually recommend about a teaspoon of each, but this is a matter of personal preference. Add your tomatoes, leaving about ½” headspace.
    Use a plastic remover tool to get rid of any air bubbles you see in the jars. Try not to press the tomatoes down too far, but remember that you don’t want any air in there. You should adjust for headspace if there are too many or too few tomatoes.
    Once the jars are filled, wipe the rims to ensure that there are no food particles on the outside of the jars. Center your lids on the jars and screw them on until they are adequately tightened.
    filling the jars
  • Process Your Jars
    Bring your water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, process your jars for 45 minutes. Make sure the jars are not touching and add additional water if you lose some during the boiling process.
  • Remove the Jars
    Let the jars cool in the canner. Use tongs to remove the jars as soon as they are done being processed.
    Put the jars on the towel somewhere where they will not be exposed to a cool draft - this can cause the jars to crack. As they cool, you may hear occasional popping noises. This is nothing to worry about- it simply means the lids are forming a seal.
  • Store Your Jars
    Allow your jars to cool for about twelve to twenty-four hours (longer is better). You want to make sure the jars have totally cooled before you go ahead and cool them. Inspect each jar for any kind of canning failure, ensuring that your lids have sealed. Make sure there is no built-up residue on the jars. If you notice white residue on the outside, don’t worry - this is usually just build-up caused by hard water.
    Store your jars in a cool location like a pantry or a basement. They should last for quite some time when stored correctly, but make sure you rotate your stock and check for signs of spoilage before using each jar.