The Basic Process of Canning Tomatoes for Long-Term Storage

The Basic Process of Canning Tomatoes for Long-Term Storage

Choosing the Tomatoes

The first step is to choose a variety of tomatoes that will hold up well during the canning process.  Roma tomatoes are ideal because they are cheap, abundant and hearty.   However, you can use almost any variety you like as long as they are just at the point of ripeness, firm and in good condition.   You want to can the tomatoes as soon as you harvest or purchase them in order to maximize freshness.

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Required Items

Mason caning jars with lids and rings

Proper caning equipment

Measuring cup and spoons

A few pots for boiling water (1 for the lids and the rest for tomatoes)

Paring and chef’s knife

Large Mixing Bowls

Lemon Juice

Salt (preferably sea or kosher)


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Preparing the Tomatoes

Bring some of your pots to a boil and rinse the tomatoes under cool, fresh water.  Place the tomatoes into the boiling water and scald them for about 30 seconds.  Immediately transfer them into a bowl of cold water.  This process will help to loosen the skin from the tomatoes.  Peel the tomatoes, cut off the tops and bottoms, slice the tomatoes in half and remove the core section.  Set aside in a large bowl or container.

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Preparing the Jars

Clean each of the jars, lids and seals in hot, soapy water.  Rinse.  Inspect the items for any signs of wear and tear or damage.  Place the jars in the sink that is filled with hot water, and add more hot water while preparing the lids in order to keep the jars nice and warm.  Take the lids and rings and place them in a pot of simmering water for 10 minutes.  You can also treat the jars by placing them in boiling water if they need to be sanitized further.  Remember that it is essential that the jars are free from contaminants before you use them for long-term storage.

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Filling the Jars

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint jar or 2 tablespoons for quart-sized jars.  Pack each jar with as many tomatoes as possible without crushing them.  Make sure that you pack them so the seed-side of the halves are facing down.  Keep filling until there is a ½ inch of headspace remaining.  Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over the top of the tomatoes.  Take a damp cloth or paper towel and wipe the rims until they are clean.

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Processing the Jars

Remove a lid and ring from the boiling water with your tongs, and attach them to the filled jars.  Tighten them securely.  Place the jars in a hot water bath for 30-40 minutes.  Make sure that the jars are completely covered and that an extra 1-2 inches of water is above the tops at all times.  Carefully remove the jars from the boiling water with your tongs and place on the counter.  Allow them to cool at room temperature.  The lids will contract and provide the seal during this process.  Check the seal by looking for that tell-tale depression in the center.  Re-process any jars that have not properly sealed by using a different lid or ring.   Label and date the jars once they have cooled, and store in a cool and dark place for future use.

You can add different seasonings to your tomatoes if you like, but you may want to consider leaving them plain and seasoning to taste later on when you prepare recipes.  You will want to use the tomatoes right away after you open the jars, so make sure that you package them in portions that will minimize waste later on.

Canning tomatoes is ridiculously easy, and you can save a lot of money as opposed to buying products from the store.  Home-canned tomatoes also don’t contain any artificial ingredients, and they will taste better as opposed to products that are stored in tin cans.  Try this recipe out for yourself, and see how you can give yourself a huge supply of delicious tomatoes to have on hand without going through a lot of expense or trouble in the process.


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