How to Can Tomatoes: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Preserving Summer Tomatoes by Chef Gigi Gaggero

Cooking Tips Vegetables
a month ago
How to Can Tomatoes: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Preserving Summer Tomatoes

Have you wondered about canning tomatoes, but then get overwhelmed by all the stuff it seems to require and crazy little details you are worried you might get wrong? Me too! That’s why I use this method to stash my summer garden jackpot in the simplest way possible.

You’ll need:

  • tomatoes, enough to fill however many quart or pint jars you would like to can
  • canning jars and lids, in any size (pints are standard) 
  • large stock pot
  • large sauce pot
  • jar lifters
  • dish towels
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place a saucepan full of water on high heat and bring to a roaring boil. Add the lids and lid bans and boil for approximately 3 minutes to sterilize.
  2. In a large pot place the jars inside and fill with cold water. Sterilize jars by bringing to a roaring boil for 3 minutes or running in your dishwasher if you have a sanitizing setting. While you are sanitizing the jars, peel the tomatoes.
  3. To peel the tomatoes, boil water in another pot and set a bowl of ice water next to it. Remove the stems of the tomatoes and score small Xs in the opposite end of the tomatoes with a knife. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, a maximum of 2 minutes. Remove tomatoes and place in the ice water bath. Gently wipe off skins off the tomatoes and discard with your fingers or a small paring knife.
  4. Remove your jars from the stock pot and refill with clean water. Place tomatoes in warm jars up to 1 inch below the rim. Squish with a spoon to compact, then add more tomatoes up to 1/2 inch below the rim.
  5. Add lemon juice. For pints add 1 tablespoon, for quarts add 2 tablespoons.
  6. Run a clean handle of your spoon inside the jar to loosen up any bubbles and bring them to the surface to pop. If you need to, add boiling water to fill the jars within 1/2 inch of the rim.
  7. Wipe the rim of the jar with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel (anything left on the rim could spoil your tomatoes). It is very important to keep the rims clean. Once clean, place the lids on top and screw the rings in place. 
  8. Add a small rack or kitchen towel to the bottom of your stock pot to prevent jars rattling. Place warm jars in the heating water. Submerge the jars entirely with water 2 to 3 inches above the lids and bring to a boil. Cover the whole pot with a lid. 
  9. Once the water bath reaches a boil, remove the lid of the pot and set your timer for 85 minutes (85 minutes is processing time between 0-1000 feet altitude, if you are at a higher altitude you will need to increase processing time). Here are guidelines for canning tomatoes for processing time at different altitudes
  10. If you hear any jars rattling against each other, add a kitchen towel in between them. Check periodically to see that the water level is still above the tops of the jars and add additional hot water, if necessary.
  11. Remove the jars after your processing time, using your jar lifter. Place them in a location of your kitchen where they will be undisturbed to cool, overnight. You may hear hissing when you take them out of the water, which is an indication the jars are sealing.
  12. The next morning, check your jars. Are the seals down? You can actually see the lids concave, and if you are around when it actually seals, you will hear a satirical pop. The sound is addictive. 
  13. Check your jars for any leaks or if you still hear hissing. Any jars that have unsealed concave lids or any leaks should not be stored long term. Place them in the refrigerator and use them within a couple of days. Do not try to can them again. If you want to be extra sure your jars are sealed, you can remove the ring from the jar and hold the jar by the lid and it should stay.

Enjoy your stash all winter long.

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Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Have always wanted to do and never have. Now I know how. Thank you so much, Chef Gigi Gaggero !
Sheri B Doyle
One of my favorite things to do is to can tomatoes. Thank you for the inspiration Chef Gigi Gaggero and for keeping this beautiful tradition alive. .

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