Canned Tomatoes – Preserving the Summers Bounty

I don’t ever seem to ever can enough tomatoes, and last year I canned about 60 jars… Are my Italian roots showing through yet? I have started canning some of the excess tomatoes from my CSA, they keep piling up and I can’t eat them fast enough, so what better way to preserve the freshness then canning them?

Canned tomatoes

Parts of this procedure were taken from this site.

I prefer to skin them by blanching them first in boiling water. Just bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop a bunch of tomatoes in. It only takes like 35 – 45 seconds for the skins to start coming off, but that also depends on the ripeness of the tomato. The skins should slip of nicely if its had enough time. Its best to do too little because I’ve cooked my tomatoes when trying to blanch them before and its not very nice.. they are sooo mushy… I’ve seen some people drop the blanched tomatoes into an ice water bath to stop the cooking, I’m to lazy for that so…. I just ran cold water on them in a bowl.

Peel and core the blanched tomatoes. Meanwhile start a large canning pot full of water on the stove, crank the heat to high. Make sure not to over fill it with water or it will spill over when you put all your jars in it.

Get a smaller pot of water boiling to sanitize the lids. Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes.  Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later.

Add a sprinkling of salt into each sterilized jar (I use the hottest setting on my dishwasher and let it heat dry to sanitize the jars). Start packing the skinless tomatoes into the jars. I just press down and squish them down, releasing the juices, so that its the natural juices that end up covering the tomatoes. You could also fill them with hot tomato juice or hot water to cover if your tomatoes aren’t juicy enough. Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top with tomatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar or 1 tablespoon per pint jar.

Using a flat plastic or wood utensil (like the handle of a plastic spoon) free trapped air bubbles by gently sliding it up and down around the inside edge. Be sure the contact surfaces (top of the jar and underside of the ring) are clean to get a good seal.

Screw on the lids finger tight. Put them in the boiling water in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Process the jars in this boiling-water bath for 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. Remember to adjust the time if you are at a different altitude other than sea level.

Recommended process time for Crushed Tomatoes in a boiling-water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 3,000 ft 3,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 35 min 40 45 50
Quarts 45 50 55 60

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight). Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it.

I’ve had canned tomatoes where the tomatoes float on the top and there is liquid on the bottom. This seems to be normal, and will happen depending on how much liquid is in your tomatoes, some are just more juicy then others!

I’ve gotten such a nice variety of tomatoes from my CSA too, don’t they look lovely with that green one peeking out?