How to Can Tomatoes in a Water Bath

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The goal of canning tomatoes is to enjoy tomato soups, stews and sauces all year long. If you like the idea of preserving tomatoes, you will find this post helpful. The project is easy if you have a water bath canner. Read on to learn how to can tomatoes in a water bath.

Make sure the tomatoes you choose for this purpose are ripe. But if you are purchasing tomatoes, purchase them several days in advance. Tomatoes are easy to bruise when they are ripe, so farmers do not wait for long. If you keep the tomatoes on the counter or in the box, they will continue to ripen.

Safety first!

Canning is an easy process, but following the safety precautions is of utmost importance. Harmful bacterial will proliferate if the canning techniques are improper. Bacteria will not proliferate if the canning mixture has a low PH level. You can use powdered citric acid or bottled lemon juice to prevent the proliferation of bacteria.

If you want to learn how to can tomatoes in a water bath, you must know how to prevent the proliferation of harmful bacteria. Whether you are canning low acid or high acid food, and whether you are using the water-bath canning or pressure-canning method, adds acid to every jar.

Choosing the right tools is an important part of the process. We highly recommend buying a professional canning kit that has been specially designed for this purpose. You will be able to use it for many years in the future.

High-acid and low-acid tomatoes

Tomatoes were regarded as a high-acid food in the past, so people did not use any supplemental acid when canning tomatoes. Now we know that the ripeness and variety of tomatoes determine the level of acidity in them.

So there is not an easy way to know if the tomatoes you are using are low-acid or high-acid. When you are going to can tomatoes, it is safe to treat them as a low-acid food. For the sake of safety, do not forget to add supplemental acid.

Canning tomatoes: recipe for crushed tomatoes

In flavor and texture, crushed tomatoes resemble halved tomatoes. This recipe is for crushed tomatoes.  Crushed tomatoes are ideal for making stew, soup and sauce. Before you add other ingredients, we highly encourage you to fully understand the process of canning.

How many tomatoes do you need?

3 Ibs of tomatoes are needed to make just one quart of crushed tomatoes. To measure out exact amounts, you can use a scale. If you do not have access to a scale, here is a way to have a rough estimate:

One pound of tomatoes equals eight plum tomatoes or 3-4 baseball sized tomatoes. You can place 9 pint jars or 7 quart jars at a time in a water-bath canner.

Ingredients & supplies 

  • 1.5 lbs. tomatoes ( per pint jar)
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Salt
  • pan of cold water; pot with boiling water
  • Slotted spoon
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Wooden spoon or mallet
  • Water bath canner
  • Marker for labeling jars
  • Canning jars and lids
  • Funnel and ladle

Preparing the tomato mixture

To clean tomatoes and remove blemishes from them, wash them in boiled water. Then dip the tomatoes into the water. Use a slotted spoon to do that. In just 30 seconds, the skins will slip off. Use a spoon to remove them.

Then put them into a pan of cold water. Once they have cooled down, place them on a clean plate. Cut out the stem when you notice that the skins are loose. You can cut the tomatoes into small pieces by placing them on a cutting board.

But you do not always have to cut the tomatoes in this way. More “hands on” approach is also allowed. Before you pull off the skins of tomatoes with your hands, make sure your hands are clean. You must maintain cleanliness if you are interested in learning how to can tomatoes in a water bath.

Take about 1/6th of the tomato pieces and keep them in a large pot. Use a mallet or a wooden spoon to crush or liquefy the pieces. Set the heat of the burner to medium-high, and put the pot on the burner.

Keep heating and stirring the tomatoes until they start to boil. Then gradually add the remaining pieces to the pot. You don’t need to crush these pieces; they just need heat and stirring to be softened. Boil all the tomatoes gently for about 6-7 minutes.

Canning the tomato mixture

Place aside the canning jars and lids after washing them. You can safely use a jar year after year, but it is not safe to use a lid more than once.

Now you have to use your water bath canner. Fill about ¾ of it with water. Take a closed jar and place it in the corner. Above the jar, there should be at least one inch of water. If necessary, you can add more water. Then set the canner after removing the jar.

Then place the jars in a line and add the acid to the jars. In quart jars, use ½ tsp. citric acid or 2 tbsp lemon juice. And if you have pint jars, use ¼ tsp. citric acid or 1 tbsp lemon juice. Do not forget this acid if you really want to learn how to can tomatoes in a water bath.

Before you add the tomato mixture, add the acid. Why should you add the acid first? It has two advantages. You really know that you have added the acid. Second, it is a way to remember that you need to add them.

You are ready to continue when the water starts to boil. When you have lined up the jars and added the acid, ladle your tomato mixture into jars. To prevent spillage, you can use a funnel. In each jar, ½ inch of head space should be left.

The next step is important. Use a clean cloth to wipe off the jar, especially the top. Then you have to put on the lid. To make sure that the jar is properly sealed, no particle of food should be left on top.

READ: How to Can Vegetables in Mason Jars

Processing the jars

Now you have to put the jars in the water bath canner. Make sure that it goes at a soft boil. Above the jars, there should be one inch of boiling water. Time the processing after putting covers on the pot. If you are at a high altitude, processing will take longer. To ensure that the timing is accurate, you can use a battery timer.

When approximately 50% of the processing is done, check on the jars. Be mindful of the steam. If needed, more boiling water can be added. Turn off the stove when the timer dings. Be careful when taking the top off. Use the “tongs” to take out the jar. Put a trivet on a counter nearby and place the jars on the trivet.

You are almost done once you have accomplished all of this. As the jars seal, you will notice a “pop” sound. To allow the jars to cool down, leave them overnight. The screw bands should be taken off, because food on them can make them rust. Label the lids with the content and the year.

And this is how to can tomatoes in a water bath. You can do your own research to learn more about the process. If you follow the steps carefully, you will be able to do it even if you do not have any prior experience.

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Last update on 2020-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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