Canning Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes
Canning your own tomatoes allows you to enjoy that fresh tomato taste all year round. Many farmers will sell tomatoes in volume, which allows you to get the freshest tomatoes, and support your local farmer and community. Be sure to use organic tomatoes, free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to make your tomatoes the healthiest they can be! For more information on canning tomatoes, contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office or local Cooperative Extension Office.
  • • Fresh organic tomatoes, free of blemishes, bad spots and mold.
  • • Canning jars
  • • Canning lids in a size to match mouth of canning jar
  • • Jar bands to hold lids in place
  • • Canner or pot large enough to hold up to 7 quart jars
  • • Small saucepan
  • • Medium pot
  • • Large pot
  • • Jar lifter tool
  • • Tongs or magnetic wand
  • • Rubber spatula
  • • Jar funnel with wide opening
  • • Bottled lemon juice
  • • Salt
  • • Sharp knife
  • • Clean towels and wash clothes
  1. Assemble all your supplies and ingredients before starting. Make sure jars are clean and in good condition.
  2. Place clean canning jars in canner and fill with water until jars are just covered. Begin heating.
  3. Wash tomatoes, core them and make an x on their bottoms.
  4. Boil water in a deep pot. Submerge tomatoes, in small batches, for 3 minutes or until skins loosen. Immediately place tomatoes in cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel skins from tomatoes.
  5. Place peeled tomatoes in a large pot and cook gently until hot (about 5-10 minutes.) When heated through, turn off heat.
  6. In a small saucepan, gently simmer water to cover enough jar lids for one canner batch (7 lids.) DO NOT BOIL.
  7. Remove canning jar from hot water bath using jar lifter. Remove water as needed, keeping water just covering remaining jars in canner.
  8. Set canning jar on clean towel on counter top. Add 2 tbsp. bottled lemon juice and 1 tsp. salt to each quart jar. If using pint jars, add 1 tbsp. lemon juice and ½ tsp. salt per jar.
  9. Place jar funnel in jar and scoop hot tomatoes and liquid to cover into each jar, leaving ½ inch head space (just to the neck of the jar.)
  10. Run a rubber spatula around the inside of the jar, between tomatoes and jar, checking to make sure there are no air pockets and release any trapped bubbles.
  11. With a clean cloth, wipe rim and threads of jar to remove any debris. Remove jar lid from small pot of hot water using tongs or magnetic wand. Place lid on jar so that sealing compound is next to the glass. Screw on jar band firmly, just until resistance is met.
  12. Return full jar to canner water bath. Repeat the process until all jars in canner are filled. Be sure to keep water covering the tops of all jars in the canner.
  13. Put lid on canner and bring to a boil. Keep the water steadily, but gently boiling for 85 minutes. This is your processing time.
  14. When processing is complete, remove jars one-by-one using the jar lifter, and place onto a clean towel to cool. Jars will need to cool 12-24 hours. You will hear a popping sound as they cool.
  15. Once jars have cooled, check lids to make sure they have sealed. Lid centers will be pulled down and will not flex when pressed. Gently remove bands and gently try to lift lid with your fingertips. It should not come off. If it does not come off, and does not flex, vacuum seal is working. If it comes off easily or lid flexes, the vacuum seal is not in place.
  16. Once the vacuum seal is in place, label jars lids with date and variety of tomatoes using a permanent marker. Store in a cool dry area.