Canned Tomatoes

posted by Andrea | 09/11/2010

If you are new to canning, tomatoes are a GREAT way to start. They are so quick and easy. They don’t require any special ingredients {just tomatoes and salt}, and you can usually find them for FREE this time of year!

I promise…you can totally do this!

I’ve been canning tomatoes for several years now and the who process only takes me about 1 hour from the time I get everything out until the jars are in the canner.

Are you thinking “gosh, it doesn’t really pay to spend all that time when I can buy canned tomatoes from the store for only $1”?? Well, let me tell you…I can my own for free {and they have NO preservatives}!

What You Will Need:

  • Several clean quart-size canning jars (I use wide mouth)
  • Lids and rings (you can find these at any grocery store…or get them from your grandma!)
  • Large pot of boiling water (10 quart or larger works well)
  • Tongs, a small knife, and a few large bowls or storage containers
  • Large 7-jar canner (usually about $20.00 from any grocery or specialty store)
  • 10-20 pounds of tomatoes (washed), and salt if desired

Where to Start:

The first step of the process is to peal the tomatoes. This can be difficult to do, but I have a simple shortcut! All you need to do is boil the tomatoes for 30 seconds (or until the skin splits) and then transfer them to ice water to stop the cooking process. The skins will slip right off!

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and fill your sink with ice water
  • Carefully drop several tomatoes into the boiling water. Wait about 30 second and quickly transfer them to the ice water in your sink  (this is where the tongs and large bowls come in handy!)
  • Continue doing this with all your tomatoes
  • Slip the skins off and cut off the green stem

The next step is to stuff the tomatoes into your jars. You may leave your tomatoes whole, cut them in half, or chop them into small chucks. Whatever you prefer.

Fill your jars to within a half inch of the top.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar. This is optional.

Finally, put a lid and ring on each jar.

  • Sterilize your lids by boiling them in a small pan of water for about 5 minutes.
  • Make sure the rims of your jar are clean and that the rings are tight so no juice runs out.
  • Fill your canner with up to 7 jars of tomatoes and turn your burner on.
  • Once the water starts to boil (this usually take about 20 minutes) set you timer for 50 minutes.
  • After the tomatoes boil for 50 minutes, turn your stove off, CAREFULLY remove the canner lid, lift out your jars, and let them sit for 24 hours.

Once the jars seal (they make a popping noise and the middle of the lid sucks down), you can remove the rings, wash the outsides of the jars and store in a cool, dry place for a few years {but they won’t last that long!}

You can then use 1 quart of your own canned tomatoes to replace 1-2 cans of store-bought diced or stewed tomatoes in your favorite recipes.

Here are a few additional resources for canning tomatoes:

  • Canning 101 — Heavenly Homemakers
  • Tomato Canning Tutorial — Keeper of the Home
  • How to Can Fresh Tomatoes —
  • How to Can Tomatoes —
  • Step-by-Step Guide To Canning Tomatoes —

Do you can your own tomatoes? Or any other type of produce? I’d love to try your recipes!

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!

Filed under: FoodPreservingVegetables

Leave a comment


  1. Fran


    I was taught that you can anything in a water bath as long as it acidic , vegetables and the like have to be done in a pressure canner, we have done salsa, marinara , pears pear-sauce, pear-butter , etc., except i have been looking for a way to can cucumbers with making them into pickles, any ideas?


  2. It’s Tomato Time! — Eat Local, West Michigan!


    […] Andrea from Simple Organized Living shares How to Can Tomatoes. […]

  3. Antoinette


    Andrea: are the “rules” different because you are in the frigid north while we are in the frigid west? We are always told that if we are going to do tomatoes (plain tomatoes) we have to pressure can them…and I have not had much luck with that. I try to get around the rules by adding a little vinegar to my salsa and spaghetti sauce but have never been brave enough to try just tomatoes… what do you think?


    Andrea Reply:

    Good question Antoinette. To be perfectly honest, I don’t always follow the rules when I can!!

    My mom and grandma have been canning tomatoes, salsa, and pasta sauce in a hot water bath for years now and have never had any problems. So when I started canning, I just followed suit and every single jar has sealed.

    I would most definitely give it a try. If the jars don’t seal you can always make the tomatoes into sauce and freeze it!

    Good luck!


    Brenda Reply:

    Sealing isn’t the issue. Safety is. If the food you’re canning isn’t acidic enough botulism spores can grow and kill you after you eat the food (which looks and tastes fine). I am not an expert, but most books say you can water bath plain tomatoes and salsa as long as you don’t add too much low acid foods. I water bath my plain tomatoes and salsa, but pressure can the tomato sauce because I add a lot of veggies to it.


  4. Rachel


    I just found your website and I am loving your ideas. We bought a water canner this summer, but we use it on an outdoor burner. We heard that you cannot use them on glass top stoves, but it looks like it works for you. Is that true?


    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Rachel,

    Yes, I use my canner on a glass-top stove all the time {so does my mom and she’s been canning for 35 years}.

    The process goes a bit quicker with a gas stove, but the glass stove was in our house when we purchased it and it works perfectly fine for canning. Plus, it’s LOTS easier to clean!


  5. Linda


    I have been thinking of canning for years, but my dh grandmother scared me so much..that I never tried it.


    Andrea Reply:

    Don’t be scared…it’s really NOT that difficult. You just need to plan ahead a bit and make sure you have all your supplies on hand!!

    Let me know if you give it a try!