How to Can and Freeze Tomatoes

Take advantage of tomato season! Preserve the bounty from your garden or farmer's market by learning how to can tomatoes the right way. Capture the once-a-year flavor of the ripest, juiciest tomatoes with these tips for packing the jars, canned tomato storage, and so much more. Learning about canning tomatoes and the best techniques for how to freeze tomatoes is a valuable skill you'll use for years to come.

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Home-canned tomatoes bring a garden-fresh taste to soups, stews, chilis, and spaghetti sauces all year long. For each pint of canned tomatoes, you will need 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes; for each quart, you'll need 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes. Choose unblemished tomatoes for canning and wash well in cold water.

Free tomato canning and freezing charts!

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How to Peel Tomatoes

Peeling Tips

  • With a small sharp knife, make a shallow "X" in the blossom end of each tomato before blanching.
  • Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Gently drop in the tomatoes and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Immediately plunge the tomatoes into icy water to loosen the skins. The skins will slip off easily. Cut out the stem ends with a small sharp knife.

 

How to Can Tomatoes

Hot-Pack Tomatoes in Water
Peel tomatoes and, if desired, cut in half. In a pot combine tomatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pack jars with tomatoes and cooking liquid, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Add lemon juice and, if desired, salt. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 40 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts (start timing when water returns to boiling); remove and cool.

Raw-Pack Tomatoes in Water
Prepare tomatoes and fill jars as directed. Pour boiling water into each jar, maintaining the 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands. Process in a boiling-water canner for 40 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts (start timing when water returns to boiling); remove and cool.

Crushed Tomatoes
Peel tomatoes and cut into quarters. Add enough quartered tomatoes to a large pot to cover the bottom. Crush with a wooden spoon. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Slowly add the remaining quartered tomatoes, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pack jars with tomatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Add lemon juice and, if desired, salt. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands. Process in a boiling-water canner for 35 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts (start timing when water returns to boiling); remove and cool.

Prepare only as many tomatoes as needed to fill the maximum number of jars your canner will hold at one time.

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Using a small sharp knife, cut out the stem end from the peeled tomatoes. If desired, halve, slice, or chop tomatoes. Spoon the tomatoes into freezer containers or bags, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Seal and label the container or bag. Freeze for up to 10 months.

More Canning and Preserving Ideas

Get more ideas for canning and preserving your fruits and vegetables.

Canning Basics

Canning and Preserving Charts

Homemade Jelly and Jam Recipes

Pickled Recipes

Canning Recipes

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