“How-To” Canning – Fresh Tomatoes


Now that summer is here you will inevitably end up with baskets of fresh tomatoes either from your own garden or from someone else’s. Instead of letting these red, ripe beauties go to waste “can” them for later use. In those cold, dark days of winter you’ll appreciate the sweet taste of summer when you go to make your homemade tomato sauce.

Don’t be afraid to try out canning in your kitchen! It’s a common belief that canning is hard and tedious, but trust me, it’s really not! It requires just a few essential tools and some time. Also, I recommend getting yourself a good book on canning to get you started.

 The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes

Some items that are needed are a non-reactive pot, canning jars in various sizes, a jar lifter, a funnel, and a canning rack. These items can be purchased individually or as a kit, I have found the best prices for canning materials to be on Amazon.

Granite Ware 0718-1 Enamel-on-Steel Canning Kit, 9-Piece

The first step in canning fresh tomatoes is to prepare them by removing their skins. This is easily done by blanching them. (You can find information on blanching here: “How-To” Cooking – Blanching) Once the tomatoes are prepared they need to be cooked slightly before canning. Below are the steps to canning fresh tomatoes as outlined on the Fresh Preserving website. When canning, be sure to follow each of the steps properly and do not rush or skip anything. Doing so will result in improperly canned food that is susceptible to mold and contamination. If canning is done right, you’ll have a bounty of preserves, fruits, and vegetables to enjoy all year long!

Materials Needed


  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water then place them in hot, not boiling, water until ready to use. Set bands aside.
  2. WASH the tomatoes then blanche them to remove the skins. Dip them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Trim away any green areas and cut out core. Leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves or quarters.
  3. CUT the tomatoes into quarters to measure about 2 cups. Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a potato masher, crush tomatoes to release juices. While maintaining a gentle boil and stirring to prevent scorching, quarter additional tomatoes and add to the saucepan as you work. The remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed, as they will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added, then boil gently for 5 minutes.
  4. ADD ½ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot quart jar. Add ¼ tsp Ball®Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot pint jar.
  5. PACK the hot tomatoes into jars leaving a generous 1/2 inch at the top of jar. Press tomatoes into the jar until the spaces between them fill with juice, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot tomatoes. Wipe the rim and center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  6. PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

**TIP** – When canning, do NOT work like a factory line filling all of the jars at once then sealing them. Fill a jar with contents then apply the lid and seal before moving to the next jar.  Boil the jars all at once. 

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