Home canning tomatoes takes some time but very rewarding. Tomatoes are used in lots of things such as soups, stews, chili and sauces. Fresh home canned tomatoes can be used in any of those things year around. You will need fresh, firm tomatoes (not too ripe and mushy), a large bowl, a large colander, jars, flats, rings, a small bowl, jar tongs, regular tongs, two large pots, a pressure cooker, a rack to place inside the pressure cooker is optional, a roll of paper towels, a timer and sea salt (iodized salt will tend to discolor the tomatoes during processing and storage).
Preparation For Home Canning Tomatoes
Home canning always starts with clean hot jars. Jars and flats should be washed and rinsed thoroughly then fill a few at a time with hot or boiling water at least half way to the top of the jar. Jars need to remain hot until they are used. Flats should also be soaking in hot water in a small bowl until they are used. Flats are the flat disc part of the lid of the jar, should never be re-used. Always use new flats. The rings and jars can be used repeatedly.
Place the rack, if you have one, in the pot or canner, the rack should be about half an inch off the bottom of the pot or canner. Fill with enough boiling water so that the water level will be an inch over the top of the lid on the filled jars. The water should be near boiling when the jars of tomatoes go in the pot. Only prepare as many jars as will fit into your pot or canner at a time. The jars need to stay hot.
The second large pot, fill it half way with cold water and let rest in the sink (or scrub the sink very clean and fill it over half way with cold water).
Before home canning tomatoes, you will want to wash them and then scald them. To scald your rinsed tomatoes, place them in a pot of water at a rolling boil. Boil them for up to 1 minute, then turn off the burner and remove the pot from the hot burner. Pour the tomatoes and boiling water into the colander resting in the sink. Immediately after all the contents have been poured into the colander, then pour the blanched tomatoes into the pot of cold water (or a very clean sink and fill the sink with cold water). Scalding the tomatoes should allow the skin to peel off easily. Peel, core and quarter the tomatoes.
Home Canning Or Processing Tomatoes
Take a hot jar, pour out the water (or pour it into another jar, if it is still hot). Pack the tomatoes into the hot jar, do not add any water. Fill with the scalded tomatoes to about half an inch from the top of the jar, leaving “head” room in the jar for home canning or processing. Press the tomatoes down slightly to produce a small amount of juice. Add 1t of sea salt on top of the tomatoes for a quart jar and a half of a teaspoon on top of the tomatoes for a pint jar. Salt is your preservative.
Wipe the mouth of the jar with a wet clean paper towel. Use the tongs to remove a flat from the hot water in the small bowl. Place a hot flat on the top of the jar and then screw the ring on the top of the flat and jar until the ring is hand tight. Repeat until you have enough jars to fill your pressure cooker.
Place the jars on the rack in the pot or canner, bring the water to a rolling boil and make sure that the water is an inch above the tops of the sealed jars. Start your time when the water is at a rolling boil. This should process or boil for about 35 minutes. This is called a hot water bath. Acidic fruit like pears, plums, peaches and tomatoes can be preserved in a hot water bath.
At 35 minutes, remove the jars with the jar tongs and place them on a dry, heat resistant surface. Make sure not to place them on a surface that is covered in water, this will cause the jars to crack and shatter.
Storage Of Home Canned Tomatoes
After completely cooled, the home canned tomatoes can be labeled – best place to label is on the flat. The jars can then be moved to a cool, dark, dry place until needed.
Hints For Home Canning
Run a pot of clean water through the brew cycle of your coffee pot, you can use this always heated water to fill the jars and and pour over the flats.
Make sure when you are ready to enjoy your home canned tomatoes, that you empty them into a pot of boiling water, juice and all, to finish cooking. They must boil for at least 10 minutes to insure they were properly preserved and cooked.
You can also process tomatoes in a pressure cooker after you pack them in jars and put the lids on for approximately 35 minutes. ALWAYS follow the directions that come with your pressure cooker. The time here is approximate.
See our How To pages for more information on home canning and