Family Traditions- Canning Tomatoes

How To Can Tomatoes!

It's a family tradition to can vegetables every year. Growing up, I can remember my grandma, "Mema", teaching me how to preserve various vegetables we grew in her garden. We would spend hours harvesting and preparing everything to begin the canning progress. 

This was the first year my mom and I carried on the tradition without Mema. Using her canning utensils and recipe book, we successful canned 35 quarts this summer. Check out the recipes below for know how with photos!



Thing you will need: 

  • Canning Jars- Quart Size
  • Canning Pot
  • Canning Utensils (funnel, jar lifter,lid lifter, packing stick) Ball makes a set you can purchase
  • Canning flats and rings (if reusing jars, new jars come with this)
  • Canning Salt
  • Sauce pan
  • Desired X-large bowl to heat in
  • 2 Blankets for cooling the jars


  • 1 tsp of canning salt PER quart jar
  • 1/2 tsp of citric acid or 2 tsp of Lemon juice (let me be clear and say this is a modern day addition. This was not part of the original handed down tradition. We never died skipping this step, however, new studies show it being used to cut down on bacteria)



Step 1: Boil a very large pot of water.

Step 2: Wash tomatoes. Prepare your sink with a stopper to hold the water and tomatoes.

Tomato Bath

Step 3: Pour boiling water over tomatoes and let soak until cool or nearly cool. Make sure all tomatoes are fully submerged. See next step to know when ready.

Step 4: Once cooled, the tomatoes should being to peel easily. Peel off the tomato skin and place whole tomato in separate bowl. 

Peeled Tomato 

Step 5 and 5.5: Once tomatoes are peeled, being to cut out the core of the tomato. From here you can decide if you would like to can whole or crushed tomatoes. We canned crushed tomatoes, so we crush as we go. 

Step 6: Once all of the tomatoes are prepared its time to put them on the stove. Place whole or crushed tomatoes on the stove top and heat until BOILING. Once boiling you can turn down to a medium heat. MOVE ON TO STEP 7 ONCE YOU PUT ON STOVE!!

Step 7 and 7.5: Prepare canning jars by filling canner with water. We usually fill about a 1/4 to start with. Fill each jar about half way with water and place into canner. At this point, you may or may not need to add more water to the canner. We typically do about half or a little less than half way up the jar. Next, place your flats and rings in a sauce pan and heat on medium heat. JARS MUST COME TO BOIL BEFORE STARTING THE FILL PROCESS!!! 


Lets Get Canning!!

Once tomato, jars, flats and rings are heated you can being. If they are not boiling, do not proceed.

Step 1: Extract hot jar and pour out water. CAUTION. Jar is extremely hot. Once prepared, put your canning funnel into the top of the jar and start scooping in the tomato. After the first scoop, add 1 tsp of salt and the citric acid or lemon juice as dicsussed above. This must be done for each jar. 


Step 2: Use the **long flat stick** to poke around in the jar. This packs the tomatoes.

Step 3: Extract the flat and the ring from the hot water with the magnetic tool. We like to dry flat, ring and top of can so they don't rust and seal. I think this is our secret for 100% seal rate. Also tighten ring tightly. 

Step 4: Screw on the top and move to blanket cooling. We usually do 2 blankets folded and put the jars in between the fold as shown below.

Step 5: After they cool (hours later) tap the top to make sure they sealed. If you hear a popping noise it did not seal and you should use eat right away. Jars that do not seal are NOT safe to store.

Step 6: Enjoy! 


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