How to Can Tomatoes

Garden Fresh Produce, such as tomatoes, apples, grapes and cabbage are plentiful and inexpensive – or even FREE – right now.  It is the perfect time to teach your students to preserve food using the water bath canning method.

Unit One of The Whole Plate includes recipes for Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Salsa, Applesauce, Low Sugar Grape Jelly and Sauerkraut.

Here is the basic Canned Tomato recipe from Unit 1.  Try it with your students today.

Then invite them to find a Salsa recipe and try that one also.

Unit One  •  What is Food?     Recipes


Tomatoes are wonderfully versatile.  

You may can them in many forms depending on what you like.


Canned Whole Tomatoes


• Ripe tomatoes from the garden

• Clean canning jars and lids, pint or quart size

• Boiling water bath canning kettle with rack and tongs

1. First the tomatoes need to have the skins removed. In a large pot, bring 5 inches of water to a boil. Pierce the tomato skin in 2 or 3 places with a fork. Immerse the tomato in the boiling water and watch closely. Once the skin splits, take the tomato out of the hot water and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, the skin should peel off easily.

2. Set a small pan of water on the stove on simmer and put the jar lids in it to soften.

3. Pack the tomatoes into the canning jars. Put peeled tomatoes into the jar, pressing them against each other which will cause some juice to come out. By the time you pack the jar 1 inch from the top, there should be enough juice to cover the tomatoes.

4. Run a knife down along the inside of the jar to release air bubbles.

5. Wipe the jar rim off with a clean cloth. As you do this, be sure there are no cracks on the rim. Chips and cracks can cause the lid to fail to seal

6. Put a flat lid on the jar and then put on the screw band and tighten.

7. When you have 7 quarts or 9 pints, place them in the canner.

8. Add water to the canner.

9. The water should be about 2 inches above the tops of the jars.

10. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts. Using the jar tongs take the jars out when time is done and place them on a towel to cool where there are no drafts.

11. Once cool, check the lids.  They should all pull down against the jar top and be firm. If you can “click the lid up and down” in the center then it is not sealed. Replace the lid and process again.

12.  Wipe lids, label and store in a cool, dark place.

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