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Canning Tomatoes - how to can tomatoes


canning tomatoes

Canning tomatoes is much easier than you may think.  The rewards are fresh tomatoes anytime you like. 

Buy your tomatoes ready to can. If they are home grown try to have them ripe but still firm.

From 1 bushel you can expect approximately 18 to 20 quarts of canned tomatoes.

A half-bushel equals 9 to 10 quarts. 

7-8 medium tomatoes to fill one jar.


1.  Boil Water. Start a large pot of water to boil.  You will need enough boiling water to pour over your tomatoes later in step 4.

2.  Jars.  The perfect way to sterilize your jars is by using your dishwasher on sterilize setting. Leave them in the dishwasher after it finishes so they will remain hot.

If you don't have a dishwasher with this setting, scald the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes and leave in a warm oven on lowest setting until ready to use.

3.  Lids and Rings.  Boil the lids and rings for about 5 minutes.  Turn to low and leave in the pot until ready to use.

4. Skinning Tomatoes. Place your tomatoes either in the sink or a large plastic tub container that fits in your sink. 

Pour boiling water enough to cover tomatoes.  You only need to leave tomatoes in this water for 1 minute. Immediately rinse them in cold water or move them into a large container filled with very cold water. 

5.  Removing Skins.  Next comes the fun part; removing the skins and cores and any tough green parts. This should be very easy and the skins should come right off.  After removing skins, Cut the tomatoes in medium pieces and throw them in your big cooking pot. 

6. Cook Tomatoes.  Now is the time to start cooking. Bring your pot of tomatoes to a boil.  Keep them at a light boil for 30 minutes, removing the scum that forms on top that looks like pink foam. This is easiest with a large metal spoon.

7. Fill the Jars. Put 1 teaspoon of salt in each jar. Use a funnel that  fits on the jar top and is as wide as the jar opening.  Using a ladle, fill each jar not quite to the top, but leaving at least 1/4 inch of head room.  Head room is just another word for space.  This is necessary to allow for any expansion as your tomatoes cool. Place your lid and ring on and  tighten the ring.


8. It is now recommended that some varieties of tomatoes may have lower acid levels than those we used in the past.  A Hot Water Bath Process is recommended.  Place jars in  water with the water covering  the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Do not let the jars touch each other or the side of the pot. Bring water to a boil and boil for 45 minutes.

9.  Cool Jars. Place your filled jars on a table or countertop upside down so the heat from the tomatoes will seal the lids. You only need to leave upside down for about 20 minutes. 

The lids will pop when they are correctly sealed. 


The USDA has published guidelines to ensure the safe home processing of all foods.


We always enjoy hearing from you so let us know how your tomatoes turned out!

Do you love fresh tomatoes?  Try your hand at one of our favorites sauces:

    How to Can Tomatoes ~ canning tomatoes