Do you have a garden full of tomatoes and not sure what to do with them all? Learn how to can tomatoes in a water bath so you can enjoy your harvest all year long!
There are quite a few different recipes you can choose from when you’re looking to can tomatoes from a summer harvest.
You can have canned salsa, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, quartered tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, etc…
The possibilities are endless.
Typically, we’ll can whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and salsa from our tomato harvest. I don’t use tomato sauce or even paste very often in my cooking, but that’s a preference.
Canning Tomatoes in a Water Bath Canner
Generally speaking, there are two methods for canning tomatoes:
- water bath canning
- and, pressure canning
Neither is really better than the other. But, one does take less time than the other.
With pressure canning, you’re cutting the processing time in about half due to the pressure part of it. But, not everyone has or wants a pressure canner (though we highly recommend every household has one).
How to Choose What Type of Canned Tomatoes to Make
This should be easy.
What do you buy most at the store to use at home?
- diced tomatoes
- crushed tomatoes
- whole tomatoes
- tomato sauce
- tomato paste
Once you have an idea of what you use the most of I’d say go from there.
If you use a lot of diced tomatoes but a few of the other types of canned tomatoes, then I would say make a few types of the others you eat.
Our number one goal moving forward is to slowly replace what we buy at the store with things we can and process at home.
It is a lot of work over the summertime, but you reap the rewards come wintertime. It makes all the hard work worth it in the end.
Related Post: How to Grow Tomatoes for Beginners
Why Water Bath Can Your Tomato Harvest?
First, not everyone has or wants a pressure canner. A lot of folks are scared of pressure canners honestly. The thought of the lid blowing a hole in your roof is enough to scare even the best of us.
Second, you just need your equipment, water, lemon juice, and heat. It’s not hard, but it can be time-consuming considering one round of processing can take 45+ minutes.
Third, it’s not as expensive to get started. Some pressure canners are upwards of $100+ for the device. If you’re wanting a heavy-duty, pass down to your kids’ type pressure canner then they can get super expensive… like $400 expensive.
Everyone has their own thoughts and feelings on this one. It’s totally a personal choice though.
If you’d like to learn about canning I would suggest checking out Melissa K. Norris’s Canning With Confidence.
Canning Equipment You Will Need
- Water Bath Canning Pot
- Water Bath Canning Rack
- Canning Tool Set
- 32 oz Mason Jars with rings and lids
- 16 oz Mason Jars with rings and lids
Water Bath Canned Tomatoes
- Water Bath Canner
- Sterilized Mason Jars
- Sterilized Lids and Bands
- Water Bath Canning Rack and Equipment
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds Whole Tomatoes, per quart or two pints
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice, per quart or two pints
- Salt Optional
- Mason Jars the amount depends on the amount of tomatoes processing
- Mason jar lids and bands
- Prepare the water canner by adding water to about 1/3 the way full. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.
- Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside. Wash tomatoes well and then dip them into boiling water for about 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately put the in cold water and then slip off the skins. Trim away any green areas and cut out the core. You can leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves or quarters.
- Prepare tomatoes according to raw or hot pack recipe.
- Add 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot quart jar. Add 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot pint jar.
- Pack tomatoes into hot jars according to raw or hot pack recipe. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired.
- Remove the air bubbles from the jars by gently running a knife around the inside edge of the jars. Wipe the rim before centering the hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
- Place the filled jars in water canner and process for 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude (add 5 minutes for every 1000ft above sea level).
- Remove the jars and let them cool. Check the lids to ensure they've sealed after 24 hours. The lid should not flex up and down when the center is pressed.
- Pack tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1-inch headspace.
- If necessary, ladle hot water over tomatoes leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if you'd like.
- Place tomatoes in a large saucepot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil gently 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
- Pack hot tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Ladle hot cooking liquid over the tomatoes leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if you'd like.