Preserving Tomatoes​
 

SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS FOR CANNING TOMATOES

TOMATOES - WHOLE OR HALVED Packed in Water or Tomato Juice

  • Wash tomatoes. Dip into boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip into cold water, slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve.
  • Hot Pack - Place prepared tomatoes in saucepan and cover with water or tomato juice (homemade or commercial). Bring to a boil and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add a specified amount of acid to hot jars (see Acidifying Tomatoes on How to Can Tomatoes). Add salt, if desired. Pack hot tomatoes into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from top with hot liquid. Remove air bubbles with a spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process (see PROCESSING TIMES FOR TOMATOES below).
  • Raw Pack - Heat water or tomato juice (homemade or commercial) for packing tomatoes to a boil. Add a specified amount of acid to hot jars (see Acidifying Tomatoes). Add salt, if desired. Pack prepared tomatoes in jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from top with hot liquid. Remove air bubbles with spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process (see PROCESSING TIMES FOR TOMATOES below).

TOMATOES - WHOLE OR HALVED No Added Liquid

  • Wash tomatoes. Dip into boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip into cold water, slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve.
  • Raw Pack - Add a specified amount of acid to hot jars (see Acidifying Tomatoes on How to Can Tomatoes). Add salt, if desired. Fill jars
    with raw tomatoes, pressing until spaces between them fill with juice. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process (see PROCESSING TIMES FOR TOMATOES below).

TOMATOES - CRUSHED

  • Wash tomatoes. Dip into boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip into cold water, slip off skins and remove cores and quarter.
  • Hot Pack - Place 2 cups tomato quarters in a large non-reactive saucepan. Heat quickly to a boil while crushing and stirring to extract juice. Stirring constantly, maintain boil and slowly add remaining quarters, 2 cups at a time.
  • Do not crush these tomatoes as they will soften with heating and stirring. When all tomatoes are added, boil gently 5 minutes. Add a specified amount of acid to hot jars (see Acidifying Tomatoes on How to Can Tomatoes). Add salt, if desired. Pack hot
    crushed tomatoes into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process (see PROCESSING TIMES FOR TOMATOES below). 
  •  

Caution! Altitude Adjustments

  • The times given in this publication for processing tomato products are for canning in the Edmonton area (Edmonton’s altitude is 2200 ft/671 m).
  • If canning outside the Edmonton area, adjustments in time and pressure may be necessary for different altitudes. For altitudes higher than 3000 ft/914 m (Banff, Calgary, Jasper, Lethbridge areas), add 5 minutes to sterilizing and boiling water bath processing times. See our section on Canning at High Altitudes or contact ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen for more information. 

 PROCESSING TIMES FOR TOMATOES

​Boiling Water Method

​Packed in
Water

​Packed in
Tomato Juice

​No Added
Liquid

​Crushed
​Pints ​45 minutes ​90 minutes ​90 minutes ​40 minutes
​Quarts ​50 minutes ​90 minutes ​90 minutes ​50 minutes
​Pressure canner​ ​Dial Gauge or Weighted Gauge 15 lb pressure ​ ​
 
​Pints or Quarts ​10 minutes ​25 minutes ​25 minutes ​15 minutes

  


FREEZING TOMATOES

Select firm ripe tomatoes for freezing. Tomatoes and tomato products have an optimum freezer storage time of 1 year.
 
WHOLE TOMATOES
  • Wash tomatoes. Blanch 30 - 60 seconds in boiling water. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins.
  • Core; leave whole or cut into pieces.
  • Package in freezer containers. For best quality, cover with commercial or homemade tomato juice, leaving 1 inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
  • Tomatoes may also be frozen without blanching; however, skins and cores may be difficult to remove during cooking.
TOMATO JUICE
  • Wash, core and cut tomatoes into pieces.
  • Place in Dutch oven; heat to boiling. Simmer 2 - 3 minutes; strain.
  • Cool; package in freezer containers, leaving 1 inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
UNSEASONED TOMATO SAUCE
  • Prepare as for whole tomatoes. Cut into pieces.
  • Place in Dutch oven; heat to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 1 hour or until thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
  • Puree in a food processor or blender. Strain to remove seeds, if desired.
  • Cool; package in freezer containers, leaving 1 inch headspace. Seal and freeze
  • For additional flavour, onion and green bell pepper may be added to tomatoes during cooking.
STEWED TOMATOES
  • Prepare as for whole tomatoes. Cut into pieces.
  • Place in Dutch oven and simmer for 10 - 20 minutes.
  • Cool; package in freezer containers, leaving 1 inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
  • For variety, celery, onion and green bell pepper may be added to tomatoes during cooking.
GREEN TOMATOES
  • Wash and core firm green tomatoes.
  • Slice 1/4 inch thick.
  • Pack slices into freezer containers, separating layers with freezer wrap. Allow 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and freeze.

 


TOMATO TIPS

  • 1 lb green or red tomatoes = 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small tomatoes or 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 - 3 lb fresh tomatoes = 1 quart canned tomatoes
  • 25 lb tomatoes = 10 quarts canned tomatoes = 10 - 15 pints tomato juice
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes = 20 - 24 cherry tomatoes or 2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 3 lb tomatoes (approximately) = 28 oz /796 mL can tomatoes
  • Ideally, ripe tomatoes should be stored at room temperature. Chilling diminishes their flavour and texture. However, ripe tomatoes will keep longer if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
 

TOMATO PRESERVING RECIPES

TOMATO PASTE

 

8 quarts peeled, cored chopped
tomatoes (48 large)
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell
peppers (about 3)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, optional

Combine first 4 ingredients and cook slowly 1 hour. Press through a fine sieve. Add garlic and continue cooking slowing until thick, about 2 1/2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove garlic and bay leaves. Pour boiling hot paste into hot sterilized half-pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 50 minutes (see Caution! Altitude Adjustments). Yield: 9 half-pints.

Note: There is no need to acidify this recipe due to the long cooking which will concentrate the acid from the tomatoes. It is safe to process in a boiling water bath due to the high acid content. Do not deviate from the proportions in any manner.


 

UNSEASONED TOMATO SAUCE

Hot Pack - Wash tomatoes and remove stems. Slice or quarter tomatoes into a large saucepan. Crush, heat and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing. Press heated tomato mixture through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Simmer in Dutch oven until volume is reduced by 1/3 for thin sauce or by 1/2 for thick sauce. Add a specified amount of acid to hot jars (see Acidifying Tomatoes on How to Can Tomatoes). Add salt, if desired.
Ladle sauce into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process.

Boiling Water Bath (see Caution! Altitude Adjustments)
Pints 40 minutes Quarts 45 minutes

Pressure Canner Dial Gauge or Weighted Gauge 15 lb pressure
Pints or Quarts 15 minutes


 

TOMATO JUICE

Wash tomatoes and remove stems. Slice or quarter tomatoes into a large saucepan. Crush, heat and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing. Press heated tomato mixture through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Add a specified amount of acid to hot jars (see Acidifying Tomatoes on How to Can Tomatoes). Add salt, if desired. Return juice to the boil and fill jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process.

Boiling Water Bath (see Caution! Altitude Adjustments)
Pints 40 minutes Quarts 45 minutes

Pressure Canner Dial Gauge or Weighted Gauge 15 lb pressure
Pints or Quarts 15 minutes


 

TOMATO VEGETABLE MIXTURES

Unless a tested recipe is used, all tomato vegetable mixtures must be processed in a pressure canner, according to directions for the vegetable in the mixture with the longest processing time. Tomato vegetable mixture recipes in this publication may have shorter processing times because they have been tested for both pH and heat penetration. When the exact amounts in these recipes are used, these mixtures can be processed using the times given.


 

STEWED TOMATOES (PRESSURE CANNING ONLY)

2 quarts chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tsp celery salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spatula. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process in a Dial Gauge or Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 15 lb pressure: Pints 15 minutes Quarts 20 minutes
Yield: 3 pints.

​YouTube Videos

Check out our YouTube channel for helpful tips:


How to Can Tomatoes

To learn about sterilizing, preparing and other canning tomatoes processes, visit our How to Can Tomatoes page.



For a printable version on preserving tomatoes, click here: Preserving Tomatoes (PDF, 77 kb)

 
Last updated on July 21, 2017