Canning Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes


Now that Fall is here and the growing season is wrapping up, lots of folks are harvesting vegetables.   If you’ve grown your own, you may have ended up with a little more than you can handle.  Not to worry, you won’t have think of seventeen different ways to eat tomatoes before they spoil.  Instead, you can save your excess harvest by canning it.

Canning is an easy way to preserve your harvested veggies without the use of chemicals or any other unwelcome preservatives.  Done correctly, the canned veggies are completely isolated from the bacteria that can cause food to spoil, allowing them to keep for a very long time without fear of spoiling.

For this article, we will outline the process and what you need to start canning tomatoes that you have left over from your garden this year.


(If you are canning something besides tomatoes, you will need a different recipe.)


You will need:

  • Canning jars (with lids and bands)
  • Canning pot & Rack
  • 2 Medium size pots (with one basket rack)
  • Saucepan
  • Jar Lifter
  • Magnetic lid wand
  • Non-metallic spatula
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Lemon Juice
  • Tomatoes!



  1. First, you’ll need to inspect your jars and lids for any cracks or damage that might prevent a tight seal.  After inspection, wash in hot soapy water and let dry.
  2. Fill your canning pot with water and bring to a simmer (about 180 degrees).  Place the canning rack onto the pot.  Keep this water hot for later steps.
  3. Fill a second large pot will water and bring to a simmer.  Place your jars and lids (not the bands) into the hot water; keep these items in the hot water until you are ready to use them.  Take care not to boil the lids.
  4. Wash and drain your tomatoes.  Remove any overripe spots or tomatoes that have mold on them.  Remove stems and leaves.
  5. Place your tomatoes in the basket rack and slowly lower them into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Remove them and immediately dip them into ice water and allow them to cool.
  6. Peel off the tomato skins, remove any green areas and cut out the cores.  Cut into quarters.
  7. Place your cut tomatoes into a large saucepot and add just enough water to cover them.  Bring to a gentle boil for 4-6 minutes.
  8. Use your jar-lifter to remove a jar from the hot water, and add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to the pint jar (2 tbsp. for a quart jar).  Some like to add salt (1/2 tsp. for pints, and 1 tsp. for quarts).
  9. Carefully add the tomatoes to the jar (you may pack them tightly) making sure to leave at least half an inch of space at the top of the jar.  Using a ladle, add some of the cooking liquid from the pot to the jar, keeping that half-inch of space at the top of the jar.
  10. Use your non-metallic spatula to go around the inside of the jar several times and gently push the tomatoes toward the center of the jar.  This will remove any trapped air bubbles.
  11. Carefully wipe down the lid of the jar with a clean cloth. Be careful: the jar will likely be hot.
  12. Use your magnetic lid wand to remove a lid from the pot of hot water and place it on the jar.  Gently screw the lid over the band (finger tight is fine).
  13. As you fill each jar, place them onto the raised rack in the canning pot (which should still be full of simmering water). Once the rack is full, lower it into the canner.  There should be enough water in the canning pot to cover the submerged jars by about 2 inches.  You may need to add boiling water if there isn’t enough.
  14. Cover the pot and bring the water to a gentle boil (40 minutes for pint jars, and 45 minutes for quart).  Let the pot cool once the boiling is done.
  15. Remove the jars and allow them to cool for 12-24 hours.  Once they are cool, label the jars with their contents and the date.  Do not re-tighten the lids.  Store in a cool, dry dark place.


Done correctly, your sealed tomatoes should keep for a year or potentially longer.  Using a similar canning method, you can keep all sorts of veggies from your garden for a very long time.  You can even make jams and jellies from berries if you’ve collected any.



As always, Happy Gardening!


-The Greencare Team