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Tomato Canning Tips

We’re still thick in tomato processing season here at Two Frog Home.  We’re eating tons of fresh tomatoes, too.  It’s a very good season to be in, I don’t mind saying.  I’ve done a total of 52 pints of salsa, which I’m hoping will be enough to get us through to next year’s tomato season.  It’s now time to move on to sauce and paste and soup and all the other ways we use tomatoes in our kitchen.  Last week, I shared some salsa tips with you and today I thought I’d share some other tomato canning tips with you.  These are things I’ve learned along the way that just make my canning life a bit easier and I hope they do the same for you.

Tomato Canning Tips from Homespun Seasonal Living


Roast those tomatoes 

Cut your tomatoes in half and place them cut side down onto a high rimmed baking sheet.  Roast them in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  This roasting process increases flavor a bit but also convinces the fruit to release a bunch of water.  This will make your cook down time for sauce and paste a little faster.  When the tomatoes come out of the oven, pour off the water and begin processing your tomatoes as you normally would for sauce or paste, etc.  The skins will peel right off too.  You can toss a few cloves of garlic on those sheets too for whatever you’re making if you so desire.

Forget the sieve and use a blender

Okay, only do this if the seeds don’t bother you.  If someone can’t eat the seeds because of certain digestive issues this isn’t the way to go.  We don’t have those issues here, so I blend.  When the tomatoes come out of the oven, I simply put everything in the blender (skins and all) and puree.  You could push the puree through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the seeds, too.

Use a slow cooker

After pureeing, I pour everything into the slow cooker to cook down to the thickness I desire.  I do this for ketchup, pizza sauce, and paste.  Leave the lid off, so the steam can escape.  You can add spices, etc. at this point as well.  Stir occasionally just to make sure nothing is being scorched, this is especially important towards the end if you’re making a thick paste.

Skip the Peeling 

When I’m making crushed tomatoes or canning up chopped tomatoes for winter soups and stews, I don’t roast them first, usually, I just chop everything leaving the peels on and crush it up with a potato masher.  I heat it before putting it into jars and canning it up.  Quick, easy, and serves a multitude of uses.

Pressure Can

Tomatoes can be processed in a water bath, but it’s much, much faster in a pressure canner.  Currently guidelines for tomatoes packed without added liquid (one of my favorite ways to put them up), for instance, have pints & quarts at 85 minutes adding time as necessary for altitude) in a water bath, whereas it’s 40 minutes for both pint and quart jars in the pressure canner (10 pounds of pressure, adding pressure, not time, as necessary for altitude).

There you have it, my favorite tomato canning tips to make the most of those fruits for your winter pantry needs.

Care to share your favorite tomato canning tips?

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Thursday 27th of December 2012

This story and your reader comments are both very helpful to me, a beginning canner! We are just starting into tomato season here in South Florida (Dec 2012) and I am bringing home bushels of heirlooms from our CSA in Homestead. I've only done the raw pack in a water bath so far (85 min cook time) on the grill burner outside. I'm tryin to find out why people choose to cook tomatos first - is it just for cutting down the cook time? Any other benefits? Thanks for a great blog!


Sunday 30th of December 2012

I'm not sure why folks would cook first unless they're just trying to get rid of excess water. I'm always a raw pack kinda girl myself.

6512 and growing

Thursday 27th of September 2012

Love your tomato wisdom. I don't peel nor seed no tomato evah. Also, my favorite tomato salsa recipe:

Apple Jack Creek

Wednesday 26th of September 2012

The food mill is my favourite tool for tomatoes! (well, and a whole bunch of other things, but this is about tomatoes...)

I slice them up and put them in the crock pot to cook down and soften, then run them through the food mill into a big bowl or pot. If I want to thicken it, it'll go back in the crock pot, but I actually do up a bunch of "tomato juice puree" just the way it comes out of the food mill. It's good for all the soup and stew type things we make, and the food mill makes it soooo easy. Dump the softened tomatoes in the top, turn the handle, and you end up with just the skins and seeds in the mill, and the chickens will polish those off no problem. What goes into the jars is seedless and skinless and it is no trouble at all!

I do this with apples, too, for sauce. Just cut 'em up into chunks - skin, cores and all - and cook till they mush, then run through the food mill to separate out cores, seeds and skins.

Best kitchen investment ever, after decent pots and a good frying pan! :)