Home-Canned Tomatoes

Posted by Jordan | Friday, October 10, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

(The most recent batch canned by my dad on 10/09/08)

Over the past month my parents, along with a little help from Annah and I, have been canning stewed tomatoes and tomato juice. It is a lot of work to can tomatoes, but it is very wonderful and refreshing to be able to open up some home-canned tomatoes in the middle of winter here in Minnesota, especially when the temperature is below zero and it is snowing outside. Below is a brief description of the canning process we use. This is by no means an extensive "How-To" guide and should not be followed as such.

(These are the tomatoes that still need to be canned. Last week my mom purchased one bushel and got two for free! This has resulted in a lot of work for my dad and for Annah and I when we're there to help.)

Our supply of tomatoes this year came primarily from local vegetable farms and my eldest sister's garden. 1 In the future we are planning on planting more tomato plants at my sister's garden so that we do not have to purchase any tomatoes from other local farms if at all possible since it is somewhat expensive to buy a bushel of tomatoes.

The first step after purchasing them is to sort through the tomatoes to make sure that none of them are split, rotten, or otherwise unfit for canning. 2 The next step is washing the tomatoes to remove any dirt that may be present on the tomatoes.

(These tomatoes, since they have a lot of imperfections, will be used to make tomato juice. The process for tomato juice is similar, but you have to smash the juice out of them, which is a great stress reliever!)

The next step is to place the tomatoes into boiling water for about 30-60 seconds and then immediately place them into chilled water. This process loosens the skin and allows it to be easily removed. This step also requires the core of the tomato to be removed.

Once you have removed the skin from all of the tomatoes that are being prepared, the next step is to cut up the tomatoes and place them into a pot. Stew the tomatoes over medium to high heat.

For canning, make sure all of the jars have been sterilized (this can be accomplished by place the jars in the dishwasher for a cycle) and make sure you have brand new lids so that the jars and lids form a seal during the canning process.

My parents use their pressure cooker to actually can the tomatoes, which has worked wonderfully since they got the pressure back in seventies when they started canning their own tomatoes. If you decide to use a pressure cooker to can you will need to follow the instructions that came with your specific pressure cooker for exact instructions. For information on the other method of canning, which is a Boiling Water Bath, you can check out this link at "Tomato Casual".

(This is the shelving unit at my parent's house. Annah and I have our own built-in shelf for our canned tomatoes, so hopefully between the two houses we will have enough space!)

We are still working on getting the rest of the tomatoes canned (as you can see how many we have remaining on the table in the second picture of the post, as seen above) and hopefully we will not run out of space in our canned food storage area!


1 - I had intended on documenting my sister's garden throughout the summer to be able to see how the garden progressed and in the end I was hoping to have a wonderful post regarding the harvest. Annah and I, however, became very busy in late July through the end of September since we moved into our own house in a different town, went on vacation for a week, we became very busy at work, and my attention on the blog was focused on other things. Hopefully next year (if the blog is still up and running) we will be able to more adequately document the entire growing season at my sister's garden.

2 - Picking your own tomatoes will help to speed up this process since the tomatoes will have already been sorted while picking them.