Canning Tomatoes

Can you believe it is already AUGUST???  I most certainly cannot.

It feels like it ought to just be May or June, since we are just now FINALLY starting to reap the rewards of planting our raised bed vegetable garden!  We didn’t have much luck with much else in the garden thanks to the weather, but our tomatoes have survived the monsoons and we are loving it!

Homegrown Tomatoes | Oysters & Pearls

Romas, Cherokee Purples, Cherries, and a Beefsteak here and there, too.  We actually had so many that we couldn’t eat them all at once, despite my best efforts to eat tomato sandwiches at every meal.

And so, it was time to do a little canning.

Canning Tomatoes- A Step-by-Step Tutorial | Oysters & Pearls

And I really mean just a little bit.  I only had enough for two jars.  But those two jars (and hopefully more to come) will be special treats during the winter months!

Besides, most canning recipes you find insist that you have 45,000 pounds of tomatoes/okra/berries/whatever to can them.  Sometimes you just have a little more than you can eat, but still want to be selfish and not give them away.  Just being real.

Canning Tomatoes (Makes two pint jars)


– about 20 roma tomatoes
– 4 tablespoons lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons kosher salt


Bring two pots of water to a boil, as well as a tea kettle full of water (or microwave a couple cups of water to boiling).  Boil your jars in one pot of water to sanitize (making sure they are completely covered).  Pour the boiling water from the tea kettle or microwave over the jar lids and bands in a heat proof bowl.  Put your tomatoes in the other pot once it comes to a boil.  Leave the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the skins burst.  As they do, fish them out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl to cool off some.

Once you have all the tomatoes split and fished out, carefully tug on the blistered skin, and the skins should slip right off.  Once all your ‘maters are nekkid, mash them up a little, but not a lot, with the back of your spoon.  You shouldn’t have to add any water, as they will release a good bit of liquid themselves.  Add the lemon juice and salt and stir.

Using a ladle and a canning funnel, transfer the tomatoes to your jars, leaving about a 1/4″ of headspace.  Wipe down the rims of the jars well and put on and tighten the lids.  Then put the full jars in your canning pot and process for 35 to 40 minutes.

Tomato Canning Setup | Oysters & Pearls

My set up: I thought it might be helpful to show you some behind the scenes stuff to make canning easier.  Pot on the bottom right is the pot the tomatoes will go in.  Pot on bottom left is the canning pot, and has enough boiling water to completely cover the jars by about an inch.  Top left: another pan for jar lids and bands, and top right is the tea kettle full of boiling water.  Everything close together and ready to go at once, which makes things so much easier.  A dish towel awaiting the hot jars is spread out to the left of the canning pot.  This is essentially my setup every time I can/preserve something – the pot on the bottom right just changes depending on what I’m making.

Boiling Tomatoes for Canning | Oysters & Pearls

Just dump the tomatoes all into the pot.  The water will probably quit boiling, so just bring it back to and boil and worry less about how long the tomatoes are in there and more about just watching them to see when they split.

Burst Tomatoes for Canning | Oysters & Pearls

This is what they’ll look like when they split.  Sort of prune-ish and wrinkly, and they will split wide open.

Tomato Skins | Oysters & Pearls

Leftover tomato skins.  I almost put these into some pasta, because even the skins were SO good.  But once they got cold they were less appetizing.

Tomatoes Ready To Be Canned | Oysters & Pearls

Tomatoes post boiling, post skinning, but pre-smashing.  So tempting to just eat them as is!

Now mix in the lemon juice and salt and dump it all into jars.  Wipe the rims, close them up, and process those suckers.

While they are processing, clean up your kitchen and enjoy a Cherokee Purple ‘mater sammich.  Or at least, that’s what I did.  The smell of tomatoes was too much for this girl to handle without eating some.

Cherokee Purple Tomato Sandwich | Oysters & Pearls

Then laugh at your cat, who thinks a paper bag is the coolest thing since catnip.

Cat in a Bag | Oysters & Pearls

Your jars should be done processing by  now.  Take them out and let them cool, and after a bit, they should pop and seal right up.

Canned Tomatoes | Oysters & Pearls

That’s a beautiful thing, my friends.

Hopefully I’ll be stashing a few more of these away in my cabinets before the summer is over!  That is, if I can resist eating them long enough.

Cheers to the summer’s (belated) bounty!


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5 thoughts on “Canning Tomatoes

  1. Rachel

    I’m definitely doing this! I know I will thank myself this winter when I want a good tomato sauce but the only ones in the grocery store are just pure crap. I’m thinking I need to do this with some heirlooms. They are my absolute favorites!!!

    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      You will definitely be glad you did! I will warn you, tomatoes with a high water content don’t do nearly as well for canning, especially canned whole. Romas are really the best for canning and sauces and are at their best right now, but I’ve thrown a couple cherry tomatoes in for good measure before. Big heirlooms you might want to cook down first before canning. I’m going to do a super basic canning post next week, too!

  2. Pingback: Tuesday Kitchen Lessons: Canning Basics

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