Canning Tomatoes

My parents have canned tomatoes for so many years, yet I have never stopped long enough to see just how they do it, so this summer I finally did.  And you know what?  It’s not that hard at all.  If you have always thought canning tomatoes (or anything for that matter) is really hard, it’s totally NOT.  Their method is tried and true and we have been eating tomatoes canned like this for many years. My homemade spaghetti sauce starts with these tomatoes.

So, for those of you who may get your hands on some good ripe tomatoes this summer and want to try your hand at canning, this one’s for you!

First, you’ll need a big tub of fresh picked tomatoes. These are a mix of Better Boys and Romas, grown right in the backyard at their house. 

Drop them in hot water for about 3-5 minutes to get the skins off easier.  While you are starting this process, sit the canning jars into a hot oven. Mom sets hers at 170*.   The jars need to be hot when the tomatoes go in.

Throw your lids into a pan of hot water and let them sit.  Not boiling, just good and hot.

My dad gets in on the action too and peels the tomatoes.  They are a team with this garden stuff.  Peel and chop into a big pot.   If you loved seeing my mom’s hands in the chicken and dumplings recipe, you will definitely love my dad’s sweet hands.  They are strong and hard-working.  These are the hands I grew up with.  My hands look remarkably similar to my dad’s, freckled just like his, with long fingers.   I get my coloring and height from him.  He is 6′ 5″ tall.  Well, he used to be. 🙂

Thank you ALL so much for the sweet comments on my mother’s hands last week.  I told her about all of those wonderful comments and she couldn’t believe it.  She thinks her hands are ugly, but I told her differently. All of you had such fond memories of some similar hands that YOU grew up with.  That is priceless!

Both of those beautiful sets of hands are hard at work.  Me, I’m taking photos. 🙂  Seriously, they have done this so many times, they have it down to a science.  Chop those tomatoes up in a big pot.

Simmer them for about 30-35 minutes until the tomatoes cook down really well.

Now it’s time to add the tomatoes to the hot jars, one at a time. These are quart jars with wide mouths.  You can find all the canning supplies you need at Walmart.

Add one teaspoon of salt to each jar.

Be sure to leave a little room at the top of the jar for expansion. 

My dad wipes off the neck of the jar, you don’t want anything to keep them from sealing properly.  Wipe them clean. Then add one of those lids from the hot water, pressing it in place.

Then grab a ring to finish it off. 

As the jars start cooling, you will hear them pop and that is the seal being formed.  You can look at the center of the lid too and see it is sucked down in the middle.

There you have it!  Beautiful, red, delicious, jars of tomatoes all ready to use during those cold winter months when fresh tomatoes are just a sweet memory.  We use these in everything from spaghetti sauce, to chili, and soups.

Delish!!  I hope some of you who may have wanted to try this will do it. You could probably find a farmer’s market with lots of fresh tomatoes at one time.   Not that hard, just a little time consuming.  We have rows and rows of canned tomatoes and beans sitting here waiting to be used and that is such a great thing to have around.

I’m up at my parent’s NC mountain house today, enjoying the quiet,  watching hummingbirds flutter at the feeder, while my mom, aunt and uncle shell black-eyed peas. Mom and my Aunt Mary have already put up (in the freezer) 40 quart bags of fresh corn.

We made fresh salsa out of all those tomatoes too and man, was it good.  I could make a meal off of fresh salsa. We use Concord Foods salsa packets (HOT!) from Walmart or most grocery stores carry it.  Easy, just add tomatoes and onions.  Click here to see an old post about it.

This is what summer is to our family!

- Rhoda


  1. Nanette bland says

    Do you use plain or iodized salt

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