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Canning Whole Fresh Tomatoes

Canning tomatoes when fresh and at peak flavor are a great way to preserve them to use all year in your favorite recipes. Use this recipe for canning fresh whole or halved tomatoes packed in water and processed in water bath canner for shelf stable jars.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Canning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning tomatoes
Servings: 56 servings
Calories: 30kcal
Author: Grow a Good Life


  • 21 pounds tomatoes for 7 quart sized jars. See note for pint jars below
  • 2 gallons water for blanching plus extra for filling canner
  • 2 trays of ice cubes
  • citric acid or bottled lemon juice
  • canning salt optional for flavor


Prepare the Canning Equipment

  • Wash the jars, lids, and canning tools in warm, soapy water and rinse well.
  • Place the water bath canner on the stove. Place the jar rack into water bath canner, set the jars in the canner, and fill with enough water to cover the jars.
  • Bring the canner to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils vigorously, boil the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize, and then reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
  • Warm your lids in a small pot over low heat (Follow the manufacturers directions). Keep everything warm until you are ready to can the tomatoes.

Prepare the Tomatoes

  • To blanch and peel your tomatoes, add about one gallon of water to a large saucepot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Fill a large bowl with the second gallon of water and several trays of ice.
  • Wash the tomatoes well under clean, running water. While working in batches, cut an X in the bottom and dip the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skins crack and loosen, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Once they crack, scoop them out of the boiling water and drop them into the ice water to cool.
  • Keep the pot on the stove. Depending on which packing method you choose, you will use this water to fill your jars and/or heat your tomatoes.
  • Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins, cut out the cores, and leave whole or cut in halves or quarters as desired.

Fill the Jars: Raw Pack

  • Bring the large pot of water back to a boil over high heat.
  • Use the jar lifter to remove the jars and empty water back into the canner. Place the jars upright on a towel.
  • Add 1/2-teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons lemon juice to each quart sized jar (1/4-teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon lemon juice for pints).
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars (1/2 teaspoon for pints), if desired for flavor.
  • Pack the raw tomatoes into the jar leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.
  • Use the jar funnel and ladle to cover the tomatoes with boiling water, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.

Fill the Jars: Hot Pack

  • Add the prepared tomatoes back to the pot of water on the stove. Adjust water if necessary so that it is barely covering the tomatoes. Bring the pot back to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook the tomatoes for 5 minutes.
  • While the tomatoes are cooking, remove the warm jars from the canner, drain, and line up on a towel on the kitchen counter.
  • Add 1/2-teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons lemon juice to each quart sized jar (1/4-teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon lemon juice for pints).
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars (1/2 teaspoon for pints), if desired for flavor.
  • Use the jar funnel and ladle to fill the jars with the cooked tomatoes. Ladle hot cooking liquid over the tomatoes, and leave a 1/2-inch headspace.

Can the Tomatoes

  • Run the bubble popper through the jars to release air. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a damp paper towel.
  • Use the lid lifter to remove the lids from the warm water, add to the tops of the jars, apply bands, and screw on until fingertip tight.
  • Use your jar lifter to place the jars back into the canner leaving space in between them.
  • Once all the jars are in canner, adjust the water level so it is at least one inch above the jar tops. If you need to add water, use the hot water from the small pot your lids were in. Pour the water around the jars and not directly on them.
  • Cover the canner and bring to boil over high heat. Once water boils vigorously, continue boiling quart size jars for 45 minutes (40 minutes for pint jars) at altitudes of less than 1,000 feet (Adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary. See note below.).
  • When processing time is complete, turn off the heat and let the canner to cool and settle for about 5 minutes.
  • Spread a kitchen towel on the counter; remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face. Use a jar lifter to lift the jars from canner and place on the towel.
  • Don't tighten bands or check the seals yet. Let the jars sit undisturbed for 12 to 24-hours to cool. You will hear the satisfactory "ping" of the jar lids sealing as they cool.
  • After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate the unsealed jar and use in a week.
  • Remove the ring bands, wash, label, date the jars, and store the canned tomatoes in a cool, dark location for 12 to 18 months. Once the jar is open, refrigerate and use up within a week. Yields about 7 quarts of whole tomatoes.


  • This is a tested safe canning recipe from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Changing the recipe may make the product unsafe for canning.
  • Canning in Pint Sized Jars: You will need about 13 pounds of tomatoes for a canner load of 9 pints.
  • All times are at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. Adjustments must be made for altitudes greater than 1,000 ft. Processing time for quarts at altitudes of 1,001 - 3,000 ft. is 50 minutes, 3,001 - 6,000 ft. is 55 minutes, and above 6,000 feet is 60 minutes. Processing time for pints at altitudes of 1,001 - 3,000 ft. is 45 minutes, 3,001 - 6,000 ft. is 50 minutes, and above 6,000 feet is 55 minutes.
  • If you need immediate canning help or answers, please contact your local extension office.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Calcium: 30mg