Make quick work of preserving your tomato harvest by canning tomatoes whole. It’s an easy way to preserve their fresh taste, and will give you a product that you can use any number of ways. Crush or dice your whole tomatoes, when a recipe calls for a can of crushed or diced tomatoes. Chop them up and cook them with peppers, onions and a few seasonings to quickly turn them into stewed tomatoes; or cook them down to create homemade tomato sauce. Canned whole peeled tomatoes are incredibly versatile.
While traditionally made from paste tomatoes, like San Marzano or Amish Paste, larger, juicier tomatoes can also be canned whole. Here’s how to can your tomatoes, using the raw-pack method, so you preserve their best flavor.
How to Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
3 lbs of tomatoes (approx.) for each quart you plan to can
Bottled lemon juice or citric acid
A boiling water canner can hold seven quarts or nine pints at a time. That works out to 21 lbs of tomatoes, if you plan to can quarts, and around 13 lbs, if you plan to can pints.
What You Do:
Heat water in a boiling water canner. Add your jars to warm them. There’s no need to sterilize your lids and bands. The canning process will take care of that.
Wash, peel and core your tomatoes. Here’s how to make quick work of peeling your tomatoes, and here’s how to core them. Be sure to remove any bruises or blemishes, too.
When you’re ready to pack your jars, remove them from the canner, and add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to each jar. Use two tablespoons of lemon juice (or 1/2 tsp citric acid) for each quart jar; use one tablespoon of lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp citric acid) for each pint jar. If you’d like to salt your tomatoes, add it to the jars now. Use one teaspoon for quarts, and 1/2 tsp for each pint.
Then, add tomatoes to the jars one at a time, pressing down on each one to release enough juice to cover the tomato, and fill in any gaps between the tomatoes.
Continue adding tomatoes, until only 1/2-inch of headspace remains.
Then, wipe the rims clean; screw on the lids and bands; and process jars (pints or quarts) in a boiling water canner for 85 minutes, or in a pressure canner for 40 minutes, adjusting for altitude, if necessary. Allow the jars to sit for 24 hours. Then, check the lids for a good seal, and store.
The water will likely separate from the tomatoes, and that’s perfectly normal.
These canning instructions are based on current National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines for raw-packing whole tomatoes. Do not alter the recipe in any way, if you plan to can your tomatoes.
- 3 lbs of tomatoes (approx.) per quart of canned whole tomatoes
- Bottled lemon juice or citric acid
- Salt (optional)
Heat water in a boiling water canner. Add jars to warm them up.
Pull jars out of canner. Add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice (or 1/2 tsp citric acid) to each quart jar; one tablespoon of lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp citric acid) to each pint jar. If you want to salt your tomatoes, also add one teaspoon of salt to each quart, and 1/2 tsp to each pint.
Then, add tomatoes to the jars one at a time, pressing down on each tomato, to release enough juice to cover that tomato, and fill in any voids between the tomatoes. Continue adding tomatoes, until 1/2-inch of head space remains.
Wipe off the rims of the jars. Then, screw on the lids and bands.
Process jars (pint or quart) in a boiling water canner for 85 minutes, or in a pressure canner for 40 minutes. Allow jars to sit on the counter for 24 hours; then, check lids for a good seal.
- These instructions are based on current National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines. Do not add ingredients, or make changes to the recipe, if you plan to can your tomatoes.
- For a full canner load, process 21 lbs of tomatoes to make 7 quarts, or 13 lbs of tomatoes to make 9 pints.
- It’s normal for the water to separate from the tomatoes in the jars.