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How to Can Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as lycopene, a cancer-fighter. Enjoy tomatoes throughout the year by canning your summer harvest.


  • Step 1: Boil and chill tomatoes; remove skins and cores Dip the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, until the skin starts to split. Then transfer them to cold water, slip off the skins, remove the cores, and halve them.
  • Step 2: Add lemon juice, salt, and tomatoes to jar Add lemon juice and salt to the bottom of the jar. Then fill the jar with tomatoes until the jar is three-fourths full.
  • TIP: Lemon juice is used as a preservative. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the jar if you want to mask the sour flavor from the lemon juice.
  • Step 3: Cover with boiling water or tomato juice; add lid Cover the tomatoes with boiling water, leaving ½-inch to the top of the jar. Then put the lid on the jar and secure it with the screw band until the lid is snug, but not too tight.
  • Step 4: Heat water in canner to 140 degrees; add jar Fill the canner halfway with water and preheat the water to 140 degrees. Then put the jar in the canner and add more water to the canner until the water level is 1 to 2 inches above the top of the jar.
  • Step 5: Bring to a gentle boil and cover Bring the water to a gentle boil and cover. Allow the tomatoes to process for 45 minutes.
  • TIP: Adjust processing time if you are at a high altitude. Add 5 minutes if you are at elevations over 1,000 feet.
  • Step 6: Remove jar and seal Remove the jar from the canner. Check the lid to make sure that they are properly sealed, and reprocess the jar if the lid is not properly sealed.
  • TIP: Test a flat, metal jar lid by pressing down on the center of the lid. A properly sealed lid won't move.
  • Step 7: Wash, dry, label, and store jar Wash, dry, and label the jar, and store it in a cool, dry place. When properly stored, canned tomatoes should last for up to a year.
  • FACT: A tomato is botanically a fruit, but an 1893 Supreme Court decision ruled that they were to be considered vegetables, allowing for a higher tax to be placed on imported tomatoes.

You Will Need

  • 3 lbs. tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • A sterilized one-quart canning jar and sterilized lid
  • A water-bath canner
  • Labels
  • 1 tsp. sugar (optional)
  • A pressure canner (optional)

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