DIY Canned Tomatoes

Are you guys canners and preservers too? From a young age I remember my mom peeling tomatoes and packing them into hot jars for processing. Then we used those tomatoes for soups and other dishes all winter long. One of my very favorite things is when she’d mix in a jar of canned tomatoes with a batch of baked macaroni & cheese. Talk about a simple one-dish meal that will knock your socks off…

So, I guess it was only natural that I began to “put things up”, as the old-heads like to call it. I started several years ago with tomatoes, probably because they are one of the most straighforward and easy. I remember thinking the first time I did it – that it was such a mess, that it was going to take forever, what a pain in my ass, etc. But the second time I canned, things went much smoother. You just have to find your routine and rhythm in the kitchen, and it gets easier! Now I love making different kinds of pickles, and being creative with fun flavor combinations for jams. It’s easy to get yourself hooked, so here’s fair warning!

And, the results are undoubtedly worth it. These quart jars that I packed full of local, ripe summer tomatoes are equivalent to a little more than a 28 oz can of store-bought tomatoes. As with all other DIY things we tackle, you know exactly what is going into them – which is always a win in my book. And, they’re so pretty sitting on your pantry shelf all winter long. A taste of summer at your fingertips, all year long!


  1. Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    Quart jars of tomatoes only require a 45 minute processing time, but you want to make sure you don’t start your timer until the water in your pot has come to a full boil.
    When processing in a pressure canner, tomatoes need to be processed at 10 pounds for 10 minutes.
    I teach canning classes and these processing times are from the Ball Blue Book. Where did you get your processing times from?

    • Posted August 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

      Oh, 15 minutes saved is always a good thing. Changing that now!

      I’ve always done 15 mins with 5lbs of pressure with my weighted guage, and had no issues. But will keep that other weight/time in mind next time. This information was obtained from several years ago.

  2. Posted August 30, 2013 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    Overprocessing isn’t bad, but it can overcook your contents and make them mushy. Underprocessing can lead to botulism. I try to impress upon my students to always use a proven, tested processing time. Pretty much every county ag extension office has a website these days listing them. Here’s a link to the VT site –

    I like pick your own, but I always verify their processing times elsewhere, just to be safe.

  3. Posted September 1, 2013 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    I’m not much of a canner but I’ve always wanted to try!

  4. Posted September 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    These are gorgeous! I really want to can tomatoes before summer is over.

  5. Kim
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    I tend to enjoy tomato skins (my mother taught me that they contain a significant amount of nutrients). Is it essential to remove the skin or is that preference?

    • Posted September 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

      Kim, you certainly don’t have to. However, they become much tougher and chewier in the canning process, and probably won’t be as pretty in the jars.

  6. Lynne
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    Question. Do you have to cook or add hot liquid to the tomatoes before canning them?? Some places I have read that it is required, some not. Thanks! I am also up to my ears in tomatoes!!

    • Posted August 28, 2014 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

      The only liquid I add is lemon juice. If you squish the tomatoes down in the jar they’ll release enough liquid to fill up the headspace.

  7. Jeannie Licht
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    I remember helping my mom can tomatoes every year growing up , but I don’t recall her ever using lemon juice
    only salt is this new ?

    • Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

      It’s just to ensure that the tomatoes have enough acidity for preserving.

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