How to Can Tomatoes

My wife’s grandparents have a huge garden, and it teems with the juiciest tomatoes you can imagine every summer. This year, we asked if they’d show us how to can tomatoes, and they said yes! So, we drove up, and we went to work! Thankfully, they did some prep-work (coring the tomatoes and boiling the water) so that we could focus on the processing/canning…we owe them for that!

Anyway, we now have a bunch of jars of canned tomatoes to use in future recipes! At the time of writing this, we’ve already used two jars (one for an Indian meal, and one for an Italian entree). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that these tomatoes taste so much fresher than the factory canned ones you can buy in the store. SO if you find yourself with so many tomatoes that it’s not possible to eat them all fresh, DO THIS!!!

Lastly, you’ll probably notice a difference in canning attire in the process pictures below. I wasn’t allowed to wear an apron, and I suspect it’s because my wife was hoping my shirt would get destroyed in the process.

Time: Variable depending on batch size


  • Tomatoes
  • Water
  • Proper Canning Materials:
    • Clean Mason Jar(s)
    • Lid Rings
    • NEW Sealing Lids
    • Big funnel
    • Ladle
    • Damp Towel


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You’ll need enough water to completely cover all of your tomatoes in your sink, so when we say “large pot,” we really mean it.
  • As your water heats, thoroughly wash your sink, and then put in your drain stopper.
  • Core your tomatoes, and place them in your sink.
  • When your water comes to a boil, pour it over your tomatoes, and allow to sit/cool for a few minutes.
  • Put on some large (yellow!) kitchen gloves, and working one at a time, peel your tomatoes (the skin should come off pretty easily with the assist of a sharp knife). Discard the skins into a bucket (for ease of cleanup later).
  • Slice your tomato in half, give it a gentle squeeze so that some of the seeds and liquid fall out into your bucket, and put your tomato back into your large (now empty) pot.
  • Once you’ve peeled and squeezed all of your tomatoes, mash them around in the pot by hand to break them up into smaller pieces. Remove any green or hard chunks as you find them.
  • Heat your tomatoes in the pot, cover, and simmer them for about 20 minutes. Make sure you stir occasionally to prevent sticking/burning.
  • When your tomatoes have simmered for the 20 minutes, it’s time to start filling your mason jars!
    • Grab a jar, hold it with a towel (what you’re putting in there is going to be hot), place your funnel atop, and ladle your tomatoes in until you get right up really close to the top of your jar.
    • Use a clean damp towel to wipe the rim of the jar to ensure there’s no debris or juice or anything that can inhibit a good seal.
    • Place your new sealing lid atop your jar, and tightly affix your lid ring to hold your lid down and create a good seal.
    • Keep doing this until your tomatoes are all in jars.
  • Set everything aside, and wait for your tomatoes to cool. As this happens, you should hear little popping noises as your jars seal. There should be a faint dimple in each of your lids when this occurs. If any of your jars don’t seal properly, fret not! Just put those jars in your fridge, and use them in the next day or two so they don’t go bad!
  • Store your jars in a cool dry place until you’re ready to use!


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