Have more tomatoes than you know what to do with? Use some of them to make your own crushed tomatoes, so you won’t have to rely on the store-bought kind whenever a soup, stew, chili or casserole recipe calls for a can. Homemade crushed tomatoes are really easy to make, and they’re way more flavorful than anything you can buy at the grocery store. Preserve your crushed tomatoes by canning them or freezing them. They’re great either way. Here’s how to make a batch.
Crushed Tomato Recipe
Bottled lemon juice or citric acid (if you’ll be canning them)
If you plan to can your crushed tomatoes, only process as many tomatoes as will fit in your canner at one time. A water bath canner has room for seven quarts or nine pints at a time. To make seven quarts of crushed tomatoes, you’ll need approximately 22 lbs of tomatoes. To make nine pints of crushed tomatoes, you’ll need approximately 14 lbs of tomatoes.
Planning to freeze your crushed tomatoes? Then, you can use as many (or as few) tomatoes as you’d like. It typically takes around 2-3/4 lbs of tomatoes to make a quart and 1 lb 6 oz. to make a pint.
What You Do:
Now, cut your tomatoes into quarters. Be sure to remove any bruised or blemished spots.
Divide your quartered tomatoes into six piles, so they’ll be easy to add to the recipe.
Place the first sixth of your tomatoes in a large pot, and crush them with a potato masher or spoon to release their juices. Then, heat them quickly over high heat, stirring constantly, so they don’t burn.
Bring the tomatoes to a boil; then, add another sixth of your tomatoes. There’s no need to crush these tomatoes; they’ll soften and cook down on their own. Continue stirring and adding tomatoes, until all of the tomatoes have been added. Then, keep the pot at a gentle boil for five minutes, stirring constantly.
Here’s what your crushed tomatoes will look like when they’re done.
How to Can Crushed Tomatoes
To can your homemade crushed tomatoes, add bottled lemon juice to your hot, sterilized jars. Use two tablespoon of lemon juice (or 1/2 tsp citric acid) in each quart jar; use one tablespoon lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp citric acid) in each pint jar. Modern tomatoes aren’t as acidic as they used to be, so you have to boost the acidity to make them safe for water bath canning or pressure canning.
If you’d like to add salt to your crushed tomatoes (I leave it out), add half a teaspoon to each pint jar and one teaspoon to each quart jar.
Then, fill the jars with your hot crushed tomatoes, leaving one-half inch of headspace at the top of each jar. Screw on the lids and bands. Then, process pint jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes; process quarts for 45 minutes. To pressure can your crushed tomatoes, process pint or quart jars for 20 minutes.
These instructions are based on current Ball and National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines. For high altitude processing times, consult their websites.
How to Freeze Crushed Tomatoes
To freeze your crushed tomatoes, simply transfer them to freezer-safe containers (leaving 1/2-inch of headspace for expansion). Then, allow them to cool; and pop them in the freezer. I like to freeze mine in pint freezer jars. This makes it easy to swap one can of homemade crushed tomatoes for each can called for in a recipe. I also prefer pints because they thaw faster than quarts.
Use these printable freezer labels to label your jars, so you don’t confuse your crushed tomatoes with something else in your freezer.Print
- Bottled lemon juice or citric acid (if you’ll be canning your crushed tomatoes)
Then, divide your tomatoes into six equal piles.
Place the first pile of tomatoes in a large pot, and crush them with a potato masher or spoon to release their juices. Then, heat the tomatoes quickly over high heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
Once the tomatoes start to boil, add another pile of tomatoes. These don’t need to be crushed; they’ll cook down on their own. Continue stirring and adding tomatoes, until all the tomatoes have been added. Then, boil gently for five minutes, stirring constantly.
To Can Your Crushed Tomatoes:
Add lemon juice or citric acid to hot, sterilized jars. Use two tablespoon lemon juice, or 1/2 tsp citric acid in each quart jar; use one tablespoon lemon juice, or 1/4 tsp citric acid in each pint jar.
If you’d like to salt your crushed tomatoes, add 1/2 tsp of salt to each pint, and 1 tsp to each quart.
Then, add your crushed tomatoes, while they’re hot. Leave 1/2-inch of headspace in each jar. Screw on the lids. Then, process pint jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes; quarts for 45 minutes. If you prefer to pressure can your crushed tomatoes, process pint or quart jars for 20 minutes.
To Freeze Your Crushed Tomatoes:
Just transfer your crushed tomatoes to freezer-safe containers, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace for expansion; allow the tomatoes to cool; then, freeze.
- A boiling water canner can hold 7 quarts or 9 pints at a time. It takes approximately 22 lbs of tomatoes to make 7 quarts, and 14 lbs of tomatoes to make 9 pints. That’s approximately 2-3/4 lbs of tomatoes per quart.
- Tomatoes aren’t as acidic as they used to be, so you need to add the lemon juice or citric acid to make your crushed tomatoes safe to boiling water can or pressure can.
- One pint of homemade crushed tomatoes is the equivalent of one can of store-bought.
- This recipe is based on current Ball and National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines.