Monday, August 26, 2013

tomato canning; basics.

In my last garden update, I mentioned that we had been very lucky with our tomatoes. Suddenly realizing that we had much more than we could possibly eat (after sharing with three different households), we rushed to can what we could one night. We ended up with seven quarts. I think that will already last us most of the winter, but I am excited to can some more with some variations. For these, we canned them very basically as we didn't technically have all of the supplies necessary. In a few weeks, when we do another canning, I think we may add a variety of seasonings to create some flavorful tomatoes! Anyone have any experience or advice?

I thought I would write up a short instructional with photos to show the basic process of canning tomatoes. First, you start with some tomatoes from your garden or local farm:

When canning, sterilization is important, so make sure to boil all jars and lids you will be using. Running them in the dishwasher on a hot cycle without detergent would work the same way.

Once your storage container and prepared, boil up a big pot of water. You'll boil the tomatoes in this water for 45 seconds to a minute each. We went with a minute. If you transfer the hot tomatoes into a bowl of ice water, the skin comes off very easily. You'll want to remove all the skins or the tomatoes and tomato sauces that you can will end up quite chewy when the time comes to eat it. 

I peeled all of the skins off while Zak cut out the stems and harder portions of the core. I love the color of the fleshy skinned tomato. They're very beautiful!

To help keep the canned tomatoes tasty, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart.

After chopping the skinned tomatoes in halves, fill the jars with them and add the lemon juice. Add hot water to the jars, leaving about an inch at the top of the jar. It's important to make sure the jars are warm when pouring the hot water in to prevent them from cracking. It's good to be prepared for this step as you finish sanitizing the jars.

Add the lids. You'll need a pot large enough so that when filled with water, the water covers the jars completely. The lids should not be above the water at all, a half an inch or more below the water line is best. Boiling the jars in the pot with water will sanitize and protect from botulism. These need to boil for an hour to properly sanitize what's inside. You'll know if the jar is ready to store if the lid of the mason jar has popped up. 

Canning tomatoes is lots of fun! It's exciting to grow your own food or collect it from a local source and prepare it to last you through the winter! More seasoned tomatoes and pickles are next.


  1. I loved this! Please share pickles next!

    1. I will! It'll be my first time pickling! haha.