Home canning tomatoes is an excellent way to preserve your garden’s harvest and give you homegrown tomatoes for any future recipe! Here’s how to can crushed tomatoes.
Tomatoes are a homesteader’s boon. They’re a relatively easy crop to grow, one plant can produce many pounds of fruit and tomatoes can be used in countless delicious recipes.
The only down-side to tomatoes is that they all tend to ripen at the same time and you’ve got to figure out what to do with your bounty!
That’s where canning comes in. For nearly 200 years, people have been preserving food in sealed glass jars to extend it’s shelf-life.
Regardless of how you’re going to can tomatoes, they all need to be skinned and de-seeded. The skins and seeds turn tough and chewy during the canning process which is no bueno.
How to Can Tomatoes whole
First Step: Peel Your Tomatoes
To get started, you’ll want to fill a large pot with water and set it to boil. Next to this pot, you’ll want to fill another large pot with ice water. While the first pot is coming to a boil, cut a shallow ‘x’ in all of your tomatoes.
Once you have ‘X’-ed all of your tomatoes, place them, a few at a time, into the pot of boiling water. This rapid heating will cause the skin to peel back away from the ‘x’s.
This should only take a few seconds, and you don’t want to cook the tomatoes, so work in batches of two or three.
After you see the skins start to split, remove them as quickly as possible and dunk them into the ice water. This stops the tomatoes from cooking.
Once the tomatoes have cooled, I move them to a colander to drain while I process the rest.
Once you’ve finished with all of your tomatoes, you can begin to peel them.
Working over a compost bin or bowl, peel off the tomato skins one at a time.
Second Step: De-Seeding Your Tomatoes
Once your tomatoes have been peeled you can begin to de-seed them. I usually cut all of mine in half and cut out the stem or any blemishes that I don’t want to eat.
Once this has been done for all of your tomatoes, you can squeeze out the guts of the tomatoes into a bowl or compost bin.
This is a messy process that kids love to help with! Just make sure they cover the tomato with their free hand so it doesn’t squirt across the kitchen!
Once you’ve squeezed out what you can, follow through with your fingers and finish scooping out anything that remains.
BONUS: if your tomatoes are heirloom, you can save these seeds for next year! Check out my post on how to save tomato seeds.
Step Three: Pack Your Jars
Add lemon juice (1 Tbsp for pints, 2 Tbsp for quarts) to each warm, sterilized mason jar.
Next, pack your tomatoes into your jars, squishing them down and leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Remove any air bubbles, wipe the rims, and affix the lids and rings.
Process your cans in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts.
- 2-3 lbs tomatoes
- bottled lemon juice
- salt (optional)
- Wash tomatoes, cut a shallow 'x' on the skin of your tomato. Drop your tomatoes into boiling water for 30-60 seconds and then immediately to an ice water bath.
- Peel the tomatoes, cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds.
- Add the lemon juice to your sterilized mason jars (2 Tbsp for quarts, 1 Tbsp for pints) and pack your tomatoes into the jars, squishing them down to fit. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles, wipe the rims, affix the lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts.