After my first year of canning tomatoes in 2020 I was hooked. I never knew that I would enjoy it so much and I wasn’t sure we’d even use them. As it turns out I ran out of tomatoes super quickly in the winter. In the cold winter months I make chili nearly once a week. If not weekly then every other week. We also enjoy more pasta and hearty meals. Another favorite is making these tomatoes into tomato soup. I have good intentions of canning some tomato soup but for now I know I can use our canned tomatoes for tomato soup in a hurry. This year I knew I wanted to can more tomatoes but I wanted to see if there was an easier way. I found this super easy method to can tomatoes and decided to give it a shot. So far, it has worked wonderfully for us!
Type of Tomato
I use all kinds of tomatoes for canning. This year I even did just one whole jar of cherry tomatoes! We grow all different varieties so I just end up canning whatever is ripe. There is definitely a visual difference in the tomatoes. You can see that the thicker heartier tomatoes like paste and roma don’t have as much water. The early girls and beefsteak tomatoes show more water at the bottom than others. The cherry tomatoes weren’t very watery at all. This is my first time with those and I’m so excited to see how they taste.
The best part of this recipe is that you don’t have to skin the tomatoes first. Most recipes call for you to blanch and skin them. I don’t mind doing that but it adds another layer to the entire canning process. Since most of my canning is done on my lunch breaks this version works much more quickly. I’ve heard that the skins can be tough but I honestly haven’t found that to be an issue for us. I usually cook them again once they come out of the jar. If using them in chili there will be a lot of other items added. If you are turning them into soup they will be blended with an immersion blender. Plus, if you think about it, the tomatoes you get from the store still have their skin on them too. I’ve never found them to be too tough either.
You will need to prepare your jars for canning. There are also a lot of ways to do this too. Some people put them in the oven to sterilize them. Others run them through a cycle in the dishwasher. I’ve personally found that the best way to do it is to wash them and have them sit in a sink full of hot water. Not only are you trying to clean the jars but you want to make sure they aren’t going to crack. Part of the process is to add hot water to the jars. If they are too cold the hot water could cause the glass to crack. I’ve found the jars to be very forgiving but I don’t want to lead you down a bad path here.
As I mentioned before, you don’t have to skin your tomatoes! This makes preparing them a lot easier. There are only two things you need to do to make sure that your tomatoes are ready to go. The first is to wash them. I put them in a sink full of cold water and give them a little scrub. The Young Living fruit and vegetable cleaner would also be a great option here if you want to make sure they are super clean. The second thing that you need to do is core the tomatoes. I bought this little tool for it and it’s been the best. I never thought I would need it but it’s such a time saver and helps reduce the waste on tomatoes.
Your water bath size will depend on how many tomatoes you are canning. I typically do them in smaller batches because we don’t get a lot of tomatoes that ripen at once. I find it best to get the water going right when you start this process. The water takes quite a long time to get it to a full boil. If you start it early the bath will be ready by the time your tomatoes are in jars.
There is a little bit of debate here but I’m just going to tell you what I do. Or in other words, your lids ready as you would for any type of water bath canning. I put them in a little bit of water in a pan on the stove and simmer them before using. Some people have now heard that you should not do this. I’m not sure what the story is behind that. I haven’t had an issue with this method and using my lids.
Steps to Canning Tomatoes
- Cut tomatoes. You can dice, slice, chop any way that you want to.
- Put tomatoes in your clean jars. Make sure you press them down into the jars. I find it best to bang your jar on the counter a couple of times to get them pushed down in the jar. Fill up to the hips in the jar.
- Add salt and lemon juice to your jars.
- Salt- ½ tsp for pints or 1 tsp for quarts. This is completely optional. I’ve just realized it enhances the flavor.
- Lemon Juice- this is a must. 1 TBSP for pints 1 TBSP for quarts.
- Add hot water to the jars leaving an inch of headspace. I usually fill up my teapot and get it so the water is heated but not boiling. I’ll add the water to the jars up to the hips of the jar only.
- Wipe off the rim of the jar. Even a little salt or tomato juice could cause it to not seal.
- Place processed lids on the jar. Screw on the band until finger tight.
- Process your jars in the water bath. Lids should be just covered with water and jars need to process for 45 minutes. I process both quarts and pints for 45 minutes.
- Remove jars from the water bath and allow them to sit on the counter for 12-24 hours.
The last, and optional step, is to listen to the jars sing the song of their people. Those tiny little pops are one of the best sounds. Enjoy them, my friend.
This is the easiest way to can tomatoes that I’ve been able to find. How do you process your tomatoes? What types of recipes are you putting your tomatoes in?