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How to Can Tomatoes

Buster began cooking as a wee pup by watching his mother fix the kibble. He was hooked. He loves preparing—and writing about—food.

Just-canned tomatoes


Canning tomatoes is so easy!

Of all the vegetables I can each year, tomatoes have to be my favorite. Not only is the process easy, but I love their fresh flavor.

What You'll Need

To can tomatoes you'll need:

  • 5 lbs. tomatoes (Or more! This recipe shows you how to can any amount.)
  • fresh lemon juice (more details in recipe)
  • salt (amount described in recipe)
  • large pots
  • canning jars, pint-sized or quart-sized
  • canning lids
  • canning rings (aka screw-tops)
  • canning funnel (Or you can simply ladle them into the jars if you don't have a funnel.)

Step 1: Preparing the Tomatoes

This recipe works for any amount of tomatoes. I've canned as few as five lbs, and as many as 60 lbs. As you read through this recipe, you'll see why I don't indicate how many tomatoes to use.

How to remove the skins:

1. Put a big pot of water on the stove to boil.

2. Meanwhile, wash your tomatoes in cold water.

3. Once the water is boiling, drop in your tomatoes a few at a time.

4. The tomato skins will begin to blister (peel) after about one minute. Have a fork handy, because this is the easiest way to remove them from the boiling water.

5. Using a knife, remove the skins (they'll peel right off) and then remove the stem end. As I peel and de-stem them, I drop them into my largest pot.

6. If the tomato skin is still difficult to remove, then put it back in the boiling water for another 30 seconds or so.

Step 2: Preparing the Jars, Rings and Lids

The jars & rings (aka the ring that screws the lid onto the jar)

  1. Wash the jars and rings in hot soapy water, then rinse thoroughly.
  2. Place the jars into a large pot filled with water. (It helps to fill the jars with water so they will remain submerged.)
  3. Bring the pot of water and jars to a full boil.
  4. Let them boil for at least five minutes to sterilize the jars.
  5. Remove from heat, but leave the jars in the hot water.
  6. It isn't necessary to boil the rings. Simply wash them thoroughly then set aside till you need them.

The lids

You will always need to buy new lids every time you can.

  1. Place the lids in a skillet with water.
  2. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn off the heat.
  3. Leave the lids in the water until you use them.

Step 3: Canning the Tomatoes

  1. Place the peeled tomatoes into a large pot and bring to a rolling boil on the stove-top.
  2. How long should your tomatoes boil? Long enough for the tomatoes to begin to break down and the entire pot of them boils rapidly. There will be juice in the bottom of the pot when you first put it on the stove, and that liquid will come to a boil rather quickly. Wait a while though -- make sure the tomatoes themselves have heated to the boiling point, which may take 15 minutes or upwards of a half hour, depending on the number of tomatoes you're canning.
  3. Once the tomatoes are boiling, I add salt -- approximately 1/2 tsp. per quart. I just guesstimate but you can also add the salt just before you put on the lids (described later in the recipe.)
  4. Prepare your countertop with the sterilized jars, washed jar rings, and the lids.
  5. Ladle (or funnel) the boiling tomatoes into the jars. Leave about a half-inch of head space.
  6. Put 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice into pint-sized jars; use one teaspoon lemon juice if making quart-sized jars.
  7. Wipe any tomato juice off the tops of the jars, then put on your lid, then screw on your rings tightly. I turn the jars over, then move on to the next one.
  8. Set your timer for about 12 minutes -- that's how long I keep my jars upturned before I turn them right side up.
  9. Leave jars of tomatoes on the counter for about 12 hours to fully come to room temperature. As they cool, you'll hear the lids popping downward -- indicating a complete seal.
  10. After about three hours, check to make sure all jars have sealed by pressing the top with your fingertip. If the top remains down, you're good to go!
  11. If the lid "gives" -- you can press it up and down -- they didn't seal. Put those jars into the refrigerator and plan to use them within the next week.
  12. Canned tomatoes should be stored, out of sunlight, for up to one year.
  13. Use a wax pencil or permanent marker to write the date on the top of the lids.

Tomatoes At A Full Boil


Funneling Tomatoes Into the Jars


Boiled Lids Ready to put on Filled Jars


Ways To Use Your Canned Tomatoes

I use canned tomatoes in my homemade pasta sauce, in goulash, chili-mac and any dish that requires tomatoes. It's so easy when you have jars of the "good stuff" in your kitchen that you've canned yourself.

Other ways to eat them? Sometimes I put a jar into the fridge to get ice-cold, then pour them into a bowl, add in a swirl of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper (maybe some chopped chives or dill if I have it) then eat them with a spoon like a cold soup. They taste fantastic.

Final Notes

I realize that most canning instructions tell you to put the tomatoes into a canner, or into a hot water bath, but I never do. My mom has been canning tomatoes like this for years - -and her mother before her. Tomatoes are highly acid, and you're adding lemon juice and salt to preserve them. I've never had a problem.

The reason I don't like the water bath or canner? It causes the tomatoes to become thin and runny. These are canned tomatoes -- I want to see pieces of tomato in those jars.

If you're of the school that feels like you have to use a water bath, then go ahead. I'm just telling you how I do it.

Canning tomatoes is incredibly easy. Enjoy!

Questions & Answers

Question: I am using the same recipe I got from you in 2014. I notice you have added lemon juice. What does that do? I ask because my canned tomatoes, following your 2014 recipe, are perfect!

Answer: Glad to hear the canned tomatoes are working out! Yes, I added lemon juice (an acid) because some of the newer varieties of tomatoes have a lower acid content than what has been traditionally produced in the U.S. Adding the lemon juice increases the acid to preserve the tomatoes. If you're using standard varieties (Beefsteak, Big Red, Early Girl, etc) and not the newer types (usually marketed as "heirloom" tomatoes) then you should be good to go.

Question: How much water do you use when boiling the tomatoes?

Answer: Boil enough water so that you can drop the tomatoes into it -- three or four at a time -- and they bob in the water. For me, this usually means my kettle has about 6" (15 cm) of water.

© 2008 Buster Bucks


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 03, 2020:

Hi Pickelynn,

Thanks for sharing about your years of experience using this method. Seeing rows and rows of jars filled with bright red tomatoes is still one of my favorite sights of summer.


Pickelynn........ Monclova,Ohio on August 02, 2020:

This is exactly how I can my tomatoes. I didn't see this mentioned anywhere but for the past 40 years I have done this as taught by my mother and aunt before me : we heat our jars upside down in the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. We leave all of the jars in the oven from the first one we use to the last one at this temperature. We boil the lids for 10 minutes and keep them all boiling throughout. This combination of a hot jar, hot contents and hot lids....... our canning items seal within minutes.

We have used this process for all of our canning ......tomatoes, jams, pickles, etc......

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 10, 2018:

I'm sure they will be fine, Toni. Check your seals, too -- there should be no "give" when you press on the lids.

Enjoy your canned tomatoes!


Toni on September 10, 2018:

I added salt and sugar but forgot lemon juice .will the tomatoes be ok?

Pennie on October 15, 2017:

This is how my mom taught me too however I don't turn them upside down and they have always canned perfectly. Took me a while to find this method because my mother passed away of Alzheimer's 3 years ago and we hadn't canned together in a long time so my daughter and I got to can together which is nice. Thank you

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 10, 2017:

Hi Lydia,

I live in Northern California and our tomatoes are just now in full swing. The local tomato festival was held recently. I'm hoping to get a few boxes of fresh tomatoes and can as many jars as possible. Glad to hear you're canning tomatoes, too! Thanks for writing.


Lydia C M on September 09, 2017:

That's what I have done for 28 years never had a bad jar. I even can with green chili. Live to do it 54 jars in only 40 more to go.

Karen on September 03, 2017:

Have you canned other veggies this way, or just tomatoes?

vivek Saraswat from Mumbai on August 25, 2017:

That's exactly my mom use to preserve tomatoes during my childhood days. Thanks for reminding the childhood memories

Teresa on August 11, 2016:

My Mother-in-law taught me this year how to can tomatoes and she does it exactly like you do her mother taught her the same method and she said that they never had a problem. So I decided to skip the water bath method for this one this year. I like doing it this way better.

Carolyn on July 16, 2016:

Thank you so much for sharing. I have always used open kettle for tomatoes and juice. With all the hoo rah rah over that not being the correct way to do it. I quit telling anyone that I did and seriously thought I was the only one who still did LOL... when coring the tomatoes, I use the sniff and cut out method, if it don't smell right cut it out till it does Happy Canning everyone, I have lost very, very few cans of tomatoes that didn't seal. Excellent instructions step by step ....

Angie Power from North Cali on August 10, 2014:

Awesome tutorial! I am going to can some and try the cold soup with olive oil, dill and fresh ground pepper! That sounds amazing! Voted up and Awesome.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on July 29, 2014:

Hi Sophie,

I'm glad you're canning tomatoes! You'll love the flavor.

You mentioned "quart pints" but the jars would hold either one quart, or one pint. Not both. Ten pounds of tomatoes isn't a lot (but a great place to start, by the way!)


... So I wouldn't be surprised if you only had a few jars. I've canned as few as 20 lbs at one time, and as many as 50 lbs (took me most of a Saturday.)

I keep the rings on. My personal preference only.

Best of luck,


Sophie Tran on July 29, 2014:

Hello Buster,

I just tried out this canning method 5 minutes ago and it worked great so far!! Now we'll see if they seal up. Thank you so much! 10 lbs of my tomato (a mix of greenhouse and heirloom) yielded 3 quart pints, is that too little? One of my friend said for 10 lbs of tomato usually turn out to be 6 quart pints. Also, I want to ask if you remove the ring after your pints seal up and how ripped your tomatoes were when you start canning.

Again, thanks so much! I enjoy your blog so much!


Toy Tasting from Mumbai on September 16, 2013:

This seems very useful. I will try this method for canning tomatoes. Thanks for sharing ! :)

Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on August 19, 2013:

I am just starting to learn how to can, but I love it! I have canned tomatoes right out of my garden. I wrote a hub about it. It is nothing like my other hubs, so it won't appear on the Christian hubber site.

Also canned more vegetables from my garden. Once you taste vegetables from your own garden, the ones from the store, seem to have no taste at all.

Need to learn more about canning, since I just started so thank you for writing this, I have a lot of tomatoes growing this year.

Thanks for writing this hub!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on February 09, 2013:

Hi Mary615,

Canning is a pleasurable way to spend time, that's for sure. The taste is always superior to store-bought!

Thanks for taking the time to write --


Mary Hyatt from Florida on February 09, 2013:

I enjoyed reading your Hub on canning tomatoes. I preserve many foods including pecans and even cooked meats and vegs. I have written Hubs about doing that. I've never turned my Mason jars upside down, though. That's interesting.

I voted this Hub UP, etc.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 14, 2012:

Hi Dani Plus 4,

Roma tomatoes are usually done as sauce, but I've used my method with Roma's before, so you'll be fine. After you have removed the skins (method described in recipe) then cut them into 4 pieces. Not smaller, because they will disintegrate completely into sauce.

I think that adding dried herbs is fine, but I wouldn't use fresh ( for the canning Process.) you can always add fresh herbs later once you open a jar.

Good luck, and thanks for writing!


Dani plus 4 on August 13, 2012:


Thank you soooo much for the most helpful/easy post I've been able to find. I have never canned before so I am very nervous from reading all other methods and words like "pressure cook" and "water bath" methods. Last year I had so many tomatoes from my garden and not enough recipes, so unfortunately many of them we're wasted. This year I'm calling for a re-do. :) I have two questions please:

One: I only have Roma tomatoes and want "grocery store diced tomatoes", will my verity work ok?

Two: I would also like to add dehydrated garlic, and a few dried herbs to get "Italian style" tomatoes. If I add those herbs do I need to add a presservitave? Salt? Vinegar? Or nix your method and will be forced to water bathe my tomatoes?

Thanks again! :)

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on July 29, 2012:

Hi Sharon,

Yay! Glad you're happy with your tomatoes.

I will be canning tomatoes soon -- I can't wait!


Sharon on July 29, 2012:

It has been 20 years since I canned tomatoes, but I was pretty sure I didn't heat process them. My husband was so sure I was going to ruin all our tomatoes....until we turned the jars upright and within 20 minutes the first one "popped". I agree with you about not wanting tomato sauce as the end result. Thank you for taking the time to put this online and I also appreciate the very detailed instructions. The 6 quarts we did yesterday are beautiful.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on July 22, 2012:

Hi Jim,

I've never added other vegetables to my tomatoes. Personally, I wouldn't do it. Salsa recipes (which is kind of what you're talking about) usually have extra vinegar and salt added as preservatives.

Wish I could be more helpful.

Best regards,


jim in michigan on July 21, 2012:

Can you add onion and peppers to your tomatoes and can them the way you have suggested. Using the same method.

Thank you


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on July 11, 2012:

Hi Chris,

Glad you've had success! This is the easiest and most effective method I know.

Thanks for taking the time to write.


Chris F on July 10, 2012:

I have been growing for a number of years and never canned tomatoes untell now because before I retired I would give them away . But your recispe for canning is very easy to follow , thank you for shairing

Chris F. York, SC.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on June 30, 2012:

Hi Patricia,

Thanks for writing to me -- this method is definitely a keeper!


Patricia on June 30, 2012:

I first tried your way of canning tomatoes in late summer of 2010. It is still the best and simplest way.In 2010 i tried the lemon juice,i didn't like the taste.Last season i went back to the salt method but i tried 2 jars with no lemon juice and no salt and to my surprise it was as if i just sliced a fresh tomato. They were delicious.I was very happy to know that you really don't need any preservative to keep them from spoiling.This summer i will try this method with a half a bushel.(field tomatoes). Those 2 jars i eat with some toast and butter. Not at the sametime. HA! HA! SUMMER IN A JAR. So much better than hot house tomatoes. I would like to thank u again for taking the time to inform us of this method. Patricia

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on June 17, 2012:

Hi SquirrelPrincess,

I hope your tomatoes turn out great!

Unfortunately, this method doesn't work for green beans. Wish I had better news.

Best regards,


SquirrelPrincess on June 17, 2012:

Love what i have read so far on not having to use pressure cooker...cant wait for tomatoes to rippen in my garden....Question can you can green beans in the same fashion? Last year i made pickled hotdogs and eggs and peppers....though i used the boiling method to seal the jars ..

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on May 18, 2012:

Hi Heather,

Wash your jars by hand in hit soapy water. Rinse. Place the jars into a large kettle, add enough water to cover the jars then being it to the boil.

That's all there is to it!

Good luck with your tomatoes.


heather on May 18, 2012:


We don't have a dishwasher. How do you recommend we get the jars hot enough?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on October 01, 2011:

Hi Pam819,

How little is little? If you mean the plum-type (about the size a golf ball) then yes you can. If you mean cherry tomatoes, then I don't think those would do. It would be too much work to remove the skins, which really needs to be done before the canning.

Good luck!


pam819 on September 30, 2011:

Hello, I've got a question. Someone gave me a bucket of those little tomatoes and I need to know if I can can them the way you can the round tomatoes?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 30, 2011:

Hi Melissa,

Sometimes you hear the ping of the jars sealing, and sometimes the jars are already sealed when you turn them over.

Sounds like you've been busy! Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

Best regards,


Melissa on September 30, 2011:

Hi Buster,

I just wanted to thank you so much for this site. I'm a first time canner and have already canned 8 pints of tomatoes and about 14 pints of salsa (I think, we were eating it as fast as I was canning at one point).

I did see a couple of questions I wanted to comment on. With all of the jars I canned, I don't think I heard one of them actually seal. Most were already sealed when I turned them over.

To make my salsa, I peeled the tomatoes like you mention then break them up a bit with my hands, I added sauteed veggies, peppers, cilantro and lime. I also used canning salt rather than regular salt. I brought all of that back to a boil and used your method for canning. It is so good!

I did try pickles using these same instructions, that didn't work out for me as they did not seal, I don't think they got hot enough to create a seal. However, I have some of the best refrigerator pickles I've ever eaten!

I feel like I really learned a lot from you and I share it with anyone that asks, so thanks again!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 26, 2011:

Hi Wiscottie,

I think that freezing is the easiest (and foolproof) method for preserving apples.

Here's my article describing how it's done:


Thanks for taking the time to write!

Best regards,


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 25, 2011:

Hi Grendl,

Yes, the skins need to be removed for the canning process. They will keep better (and longer) without the skins.

When you make fresh sauce, from fresh tomatoes (not for canning) then by all means -- leave the skins on, if you like. Remove them for canning.

Thanks for taking the time to write to me.

Best regards,


Grendl on September 25, 2011:


I'm wondering if you must remove the tomato skins for sanitation reasons. I actually like them in my tomato sauce and would prefer to leave them on if possible. Please advise!

wiscoscottie on September 25, 2011:

I love the simplicity of this method, which a friend of mine tells me her grandma also used, so I tried it, seems to have worked great, love the color of the tomatoes. I am now surrounded by apples and wonder if you've ever tried your "open kettle" method of hot packing into sterile jars without the hot water bath step to can apples?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 19, 2011:

Hi Diane,

I wish I did! If you come across one, let me know, okay?

Best regards,


Diane on September 19, 2011:

Do you have a salsa recipe for canning that uses canned tomatoes?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 19, 2011:

Hi Diane,

There are so many types of salsa recipes for canning that I wouldn't know how to answer your question. I really wish I could be more helpful.

Best regards,


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 19, 2011:

Hi Sandra,

So glad you've had success! We're often opening jars soon afterward, too.


As to your friend -- the short answer would be that she didn't follow the directions.


Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Best regards,


Diane on September 19, 2011:

I want to make and can salsa, but my recipe for fresh salsa uses canned tomatoes. Is it possible to can salsa that is made with canned tomatoes? Or must I convert the recipe to fresh tomatoes to can? Thanks for your help!

Sandra on September 19, 2011:

I followed the directions to the letter and didn't have a problem...all of my jars sealed. We're actually going through a lot of the jars already! However, a friend of mine who I shared the garden plot with didn't have my luck...hers are starting to get moldy and the seals are breaking and unpopping....any idea what might have happened?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 18, 2011:

Hi Robin,

Yes, this is how my mom taught me, and how her mother taught her. 100+ years of canning tomatoes.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Best regards,


Robin on September 18, 2011:

This is how my mother taught me to casn (except for turning them upside down first) and I've been doing it for years. The only thing I do different is that I add a teaspoon of salt to the tomatoes in the jar just before I put the lids on. They always turn out great! Thanks for showing me that I'm not the only one who does it this way.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 10, 2011:

Hi Tanya,

It isn't necessary to hear the ping. Sometimes when I can tomatoes I hear every jar ping, other times I don't hear any of them.

To check for a seal: press your finger on the top of the jar -- the lid should be "down" and not move up and down. If you can pop it up and down, you don't have a good seal and the jars should go into the fridge. Plan to eat these tomatoes within the next week or 10 days.

If you follow my method closely, all of your jars should seal.

Thanks for taking the time to write.


Pam Ohio on September 10, 2011:

Thank you, Buster. I am looking for a salsa recipe that I could use this method of canning. I appreciate any help as this will be my first summer of attempting to can tomatoes and salsa. This method seems so user friendly.

Once again, thank you.


Tanya on September 09, 2011:

I just canned up 10 quarts and I'm very excited about it. But, I do have a question. I only heard one ping from the first batch. Can they seal even without the sound? So far the lids seem sealed, not bumpy. What do you think? What does a good seal look like?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 09, 2011:

Hi Pam,

I would need to see your recipe -- some salsa recipes include enough vinegar and salt/sugar that you could use this method.

Wish I could be more helpful!

Best regards,


Pam on September 09, 2011:

Hi Buster~

Can I can my salsa with the same method you can your tomatoes? I do not have a pot with can jar holder and would love to can some salsa this year to give away for Christmas.

Thank you for your help.


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 09, 2011:

Hi Rhonda,

No, the rings don't need to be boiled. They never come in contact with the food.

They do need to be washed, however. I put mine through the dishwasher.

Good luck with your tomatoes!

Best regards,


Rhonda on September 09, 2011:

Do you also boil your rings, or just the lids?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 08, 2011:

Hi Carrie,

No, I wouldn't add beans to salsa, or to something that I canned.

Thanks so much for writing to me.

Best regards,


Carrie on September 08, 2011:

Hi there

I want to can salsa and would love to add beans is this a good idea?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 07, 2011:

Hi Paul,

I'm unable to advise you about the safety of the tomato sauce you've canned. However, based on what you've written to me, it sounds to me like you're going to be fine.

How many jars did you make? Maybe you might want to focus on using them up within the next few months... just to be sure.

Anyhow, good luck! And thanks for taking the time to write.

Best regards,


Paul on September 07, 2011:

Great read.. thanks. I recently made tomato sauce and canned using the water bath method. I'm now worried as I've read on other web pages that I should have added lemon juice or citric acid to prevent botulism. The sauce has no meat and the vegis were cook until dissolved and everything was passed through a sieve, then reduced further over heat before canning. The sauce looks great - has some red wine in it too, and the lids are definitely sealed.

I'd appreciate your opinion on whether I'm good to go or should I scrap it all and start over.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 05, 2011:

Hi Melissa,

It's always difficult to advise someone as to whether what they've canned is okay to put onto the shelf after having been in the fridge. Did you use a vinegar/salt solution to can your pickles? I'm going to assume you did.

My guess is that it would be okay to remove them from the fridge and put them on your canning shelf. Keep an eye on them, okay? If you notice that one of the pickle jars has lost its seal, then you'll want to put them into the fridge and eat them within 3 or 4 weeks.

Good luck!

Best regards,


S Pascoe on September 05, 2011:

I do all my canning with the flip method! Everything taste's and looks better.

Melissa on September 05, 2011:

Since your method worked so well with tomatoes, I thought I'd try it with pickles. I canned 7 pints and left them on the counter to cool. Once cooled they never did take a seal (I am sure I overfilled them)so I put them in the fridge. This morning I checked on them and they were all sealed. Is it OK to pull them out of the fridge to store in my cabinet or is it too late since they're already cold?

I'd appreciate your input. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

Elisabeth on September 04, 2011:

Hello Buster!

As I write this, my jars are upsidedown, awaiting the turnover. Thank you for such simple instructions. I was wondering if you canned everything this way: other veggies, fruits, etc?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 03, 2011:

Hi Melissa,

Sounds like success to me! As you can see, it's really easy to do... and you'll enjoy having tomatoes all year long that you've canned yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best regards,


Melissa on September 03, 2011:

I'm a newbie to canning. I started with these instructions and 5 pounds of tomatoes. I didn't want to feel too bad if I wasn't successful. I was able to get 4 pints out of the 5lbs. I never did hear them pop, but the lids definitely are not flexing like the originally were. I did forget to put the salt in. I assume that'll be OK, right? I'm still going to call it a success! Tomorrow I'm going to stop back by my local produce lady and get another 10 pounds of tomatoes.

Angela Dale from Columbus, Ohio on September 03, 2011:

Hi this is just the perfect hub that i needed. Thanks for the details. Great hub

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 02, 2011:

Hi Eddie,

I've never heard of this before. Wish I had info for you.

Best regards,


Eddie on September 02, 2011:

I peeled a bunch of tomatoes yesterday, put them in the frig overnight in a stainless steel pot and when I just got them out of the frig a couple of them in the pot had white all over them almost like a wax .. does anyone know what this is or has anyone ever seen this before????

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 01, 2011:

Hi Linda,

100 quarts! Wow -- that's amazing. Yes, I use canned tomatoes in lots of ways, and never tire of having them handy for cooking. We eat canned tomatoes like a cold soup a LOT.

Enjoy those fried green tomatoes. I plan on frying some this weekend.

Best regards,


Linda on September 01, 2011:

Thanks for your posts... I have always canned tomatoes this way. It is so much easier and I have had them last over two years. That is just because I had over 100 large quarts 2 years ago. I use the canned tomatoes as a base for all my soups, chilli, vegetable, you name it. We love it. Thanks for the tip on turning them upside down for 12 minutes. I just got done canning 17 quarts and am already hearing them "pop" to seal. I am going to cook some of your fried green tomatoes tonight! Thanks for all you do!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 30, 2011:

Hi Abby,

It's really difficult for me to advise you without being able to see the sauce. The things I would look for: did the tops seal? Did the sauce come to a boil inside the jars during the hot water bath? Did the sauce go into the jars already boiling (or at least really hot?)

How many jars do you have? If it was me, I would empty the sauce into freezer bags, and freeze the sauce. This way you know they will keep, and you don't have to worry about the seals, etc.

I wouldn't pressure can jars that have already been sealed and on your counter for a few days.

Good luck!


Abby on August 29, 2011:

I recently made 2 batches of tomato sauce, but didn't follow a canning recipe. One has tomatoes, herbs, garlic and onion - the other those plus peppers. I added some sugar, salt, and EVOO to both, and fresh lemon juice at the end. I processed in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes. Now I'm reading most of this was a big no no.

The sealed and have been on my counter at room temp for 24 hours. A couple of questions:

First, if this will not be safe canned like this, would it be possible for me to empty the jars into freezer containers and freeze?

Second, could I do a pressure canning on these batches after I've already done the boiling, or will this just create more problems? And if it's possible - what would be the procedure?

Just hoping you might have some expertise - as I clearly am a newbie, and not following the rules already!! Never was any good at it.

Thanks a heap... and can't wait to try your method!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 29, 2011:

Hi Leah!

Thanks for describing your tomatoes -- they must be beautiful.

I completely agree with you -- not only does the food taste better, but you know exactly what's in it (no chemicals or pesticides) and there's a personal satisfaction with growing and preserving your own food.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me!

Best regards,


Leah Lefler from Western New York on August 29, 2011:


The purple prudence are an heirloom variety - they are a purplish pink color when ripe. I have the cans pinging on the counter now. I love it! I just canned strawberry jam for the first time this year, and now I'm moving on to tomatoes. The food tastes so much better when it is fresh out of the garden!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 29, 2011:

Hi Leah,

Yes, you'll really enjoy having your own fresh tomatoes during those cold winter months.

I'm not familiar with Purple Prudence -- I assume it's an heirloom variety?

Good luck with your canning.

Best regards,


Leah Lefler from Western New York on August 29, 2011:

I am in the middle of canning tomatoes right now (I have the water on to boil the tomatoes to remove the skins). I am so excited to have fresh tomatoes ready to use in the winter! We grew Purple Prudence tomatoes in our garden this year, and it is really exciting to be able to save them and eat them in our spaghetti sauce, etc. And so much cheaper than buying things at the store!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 28, 2011:

Hi Roxie: Lemon juice isn't called for in the recipe for canning tomatoes... so you're good to go.

Jasmine: Salt is optional, as I mention in the recipe.

Sue: My mother (and her mother, and all my aunts) upturn their jars "to help the jars seal." Does it really improve the chance of a seal? I really don't know. It's just how I do it, and I've had success for many, many years.

Kara: I canned yellow tomatoes about 4 years ago, and they turned out great! I bet you'll love how they taste from the jars.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to write and respond.

Best regards,


Kara on August 28, 2011:

Thanks for the recipe. So clear and easy to follow. I don't have all the canning supplies, so this made the canning process a lot easier. I used my yellow and orange tomatoes, so I am excited to see how they taste!

Sue on August 28, 2011:

Why do you put your jars upside down for 12 minutes?

Jasmine on August 28, 2011:

Hi, is it okay not to add salt? Is it necessary?

Roxy on August 28, 2011:

Did everything correct but forgot to add the lemon juice. How will this effect the shelf life and or safe eating?

Thank you

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 25, 2011:

Hi Joanne,

Yes, if one of my jars doesn't seal, I put it in the fridge and make sauce in a day or two. Like you, this very rarely happens.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me.

Best regards,


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 25, 2011:

Hi Ceci,

Tomato juice is -- you'll be surprised to know -- actually clear. The pulp is red, of course. There are Italian recipes that require hand juicing, then letting the juice/pulp sit in the refrigerator until the pulp separates from the (clear) juice, then the clear juice is served. It's delicious, and has a very intense tomato flavor.

As to why the red is so thick... I'm not quite sure. I would have to look at the jars.



joanne on August 24, 2011:

i was taught how to can exactly like this and have been canning for years but the last few years i have not canned anything and was looking for a refresher. the only thing i do differently is i place all my clean jars in the over at a temp to just keep them hot and when filling the jars i place all the jars upside down and leave them til morning and its always worked for me, anything that didn't seal i would put in the fridge and cook up a spaghetti sauce the next day or so but never really had that problem them. thanks for sharing.

ceci on August 24, 2011:

does anyone know why my last batch of tomato juice has the red on top and clear on bottom? Also, the red is EXTREMELY thick. Almost like tomato paste!

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 24, 2011:

Hi Cranberry Morning,

100 quarts! Wow, that's a lot of tomatoes.

I don't think that lemon juice has to be added for them to be safe.

What you're pointing out is sort of a classic clash between different approaches to canning tomatoes. Some people will *only* pressure can, while others use the method I describe above.

My experience: I've canned hybrid tomatoes using my method (no lemon juice, no pressure canning) and have had no problems at all.

Is this the "right" thing to do? I can't tell you that. As I've mentioned many times, I'm just sharing with people the way I can my tomatoes.

Thanks for taking the time to write!


Cranberry Morning on August 24, 2011:

I used to can tomatoes this way (for years). I think I've always used hybrid tomatoes and they're telling me that I MUST add 2 T.lemon juice per quart of tomatoes. They tell me that hybrids are not as acidic as the old heirloom varieties. I actually pressure canned my tomatoes at 11 pounds pressure for 25 minutes and they're (county extension office) telling me that they're not safe because they don't have the added lemon juice. I don't get that, for I can't imagine that even hybrid tomatoes are less acidic as green beans, and they don't tell you to add lemon juice to green beans when canning! Do you know anyone who cans without adding lemon juice to hybrid tomatoes and has survived? I have about 100 quarts of canned tomatoes from last summer and haven't dared use any of them. Common sense tells me that they're fine. I'd just like to know that other people have done the same thing and survived. :-)

tcstenor on August 23, 2011:

Oh my goodness! I am SO glad I decided to follow your page and read all the questions and your comments. I buy raw, organic milk from an organic dairy in East Texas and I didn't know that using raw milk in making cream of tomato soup might curdle because of the cream. So glad to know this info. Thanks, Buster!


Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 23, 2011:

Hi Sharon,

The technique you described was used when people drank fresh milk, directly from the cow. That milk -- full of rich cream -- would curdle sometimes from the acid in tomatoes.

The milk most people use today (1% or 2% or skim) won't curdle in tomatoes, so baking soda isn't necessary.

(HOWEVER -- when adding milk to hot tomatoes -- don't bring it to a boil; heat till it is hot, and remove from heat *just before* the boiling point is reached.)

Thanks so much for writing Sharon.


Sharon on August 23, 2011:

Will try this method of canning maters. My Mom used to add baking soda to canned tomatoes when adding milk for soup to keep from curdling. Any thoughts on this?

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 21, 2011:

Hi Jeena,

I really appreciate that you took the time to write to me! Thanks for letting me know about your wonderful successes.

Like you, I enjoy having my own tomatoes all year long.

Best regards,


Jeena on August 21, 2011:

HI Buster! This is my second year using this technique and I just wanted everyone to know that it works perfectly!!! I found your post last year. It was my first year canning and I was soooooo happy not to have to use the water bath/pressure canning techniques. It can get so hot! My tomatoes were fabulous all winter long!

P.s. I just made a "quick" batch this morning (4 pints) because my tomatoes were ready to go! They look so pretty in their jars! Thank you for sharing~ Jeena

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 20, 2011:

Hi Paul,

I think you'll like this method. I'm glad your Mawmaw is willing to give this a try!

Best regards,


paul on August 20, 2011:

your the best buster my mawmaw said lets try this as she has been canning for yrsssssssssssssss and never heard of this but said lets try so off we go

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 19, 2011:

Hi Jo,

I'm glad to hear you tomatoes turned out great!

As to green beans -- no, I dont' have a method that is different from the standard approach, which involves using a pressure canner.

Thanks for taking the time to write to me.

Best regards,


Jo on August 19, 2011:

Thank you for your instructions on the tomatoes. It was my first time of doing them this way. It was so easy. They turned out great. Do you have an easy way for green beans? Thanks

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 17, 2011:

Hi Shaz, Debby and Barbara,

Shaz: I think that using an apple corer before blanching is a great idea! It's okay if you omit the salt.

Debby: Yes, you can add a touch of salt to the jars before putting the lids on and sealing them.

Barbara: Glad you had success with this method for canning your tomatoes.

Best regards to all of you,


Barbara S. on August 17, 2011:

looking online, I came across your recipe of canning tomatoes. I tried it out and it works wonderful!! thanks for your info :)

Debby on August 17, 2011:

Since I am not good at guessing at how many quarts, would it be ok to add the salt to each filled jar right before putting on lid?

Shaz on August 17, 2011:

I tried this today and all sealed within 30 mins of filling in jars. I goofed first batch and had jars in opposite order of being upside, but it must not matter much as they sealed very quickly.

Someone asked about cores, I use an apple corer and remove cores before blanching...much easier to do on a more solid tomato then a mushy one! I didn't add salt either as I dont put salt in anything.

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