How to Can Whole Tomatoes with a Water Bath

Today we are sharing how to can whole tomatoes with a water bath. This simple technique for canned tomatoes is a wonderful way to preserve produce from the garden. It’s not hard to do, it just takes a little bit of time. Once you crack open a can of tomatoes in the dead of winter, your efforts will be totally worth it!

Most of the utensils you will need to can whole tomatoes with a water bath will probably already be in your kitchen. Here is what you will need:

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Equipment Needed to Can Whole Tomatoes With a Water Bath:

  • A Canner or Large Enamel Pan with Lid and Canning Rack
  • Quart Sized Mason Jars
  • Lids and Rings to fit the Mason Jars
  • Several Large Bowls
  • Metal Strainer
  • Canning Tongs and Regular Tongs – For getting jars and lids out of boiling water bath.
  • Large Stock Pot – For blanching tomatoes.
  • Small Stock Pot – For scalding rings and lids.
  • Tea Kettle or Electric Kettle of Boiling Water – to top off jars once filled with tomatoes.
  • Tomatoes – As many as you would like to can!
  • Basil Leaves – This is optional, but it’s nice to add some flavor to your canned tomatoes!
  • Canning Funnel & Measuring Cups
  • Lots of Clean Tea Towels

How to Can Whole Tomatoes with a Water Bath: 

Step One:

Pick your tomatoes and wash them.

cleaning tomatoes to be canned life full and frugal

Step Two:

First, fill your water bath canner half way with water. Place the lid on and bring to a boil.

Step Three:

Next, put your lids and rings together. Place them in your small stock pot and cover them with water. Then put the lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. 

Step Four:

Fill a large stock pot with hot water and bring to a boil. This boiling water will be used for blanching the tomatoes. 

Step Five:

Next, you will need to prep your jars. Fill CLEAN jars with HOT water. This will acclimate them for the hot tomatoes. They need to be up to temperature so that they will not bust and also so that they will seal properly. 

Step Six:

When you are making water bath canned tomatoes, it is likely that you will need to top off some of the jars of tomatoes with hot water. So, you will need to fill a tea kettle or electric kettle with water, and bring it to a boil. 

Step Seven:

Now it’s time to blanch your tomatoes! First, fill your sink with ice water. Next, place your washed tomatoes into the boiling water in the large stock pot. Allow them to sit in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes.

Once you see the skins start to split, they are ready to transfer into the ice water to shock them. You will use a metal strainer with a handle to transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water into the ice water.

blancing tomatoes to can life full and frugal

Step Eight:

Once the tomatoes are submerged in the ice water, you will need to move quickly to remove the skins. Place the skinned tomatoes in one bowl, and the scraps in another. If the tomatoes are large, you can cut them in half. 

Step Nine:

Empty the jars of the hot water. Pack the tomatoes into the jars and add boiling water from the tea kettle to top off if needed. Clean the rims of the jars thoroughly with a damp tea towel or dish cloth.

placing whole tomatoes in jars to can life full and frugal

Step Ten:

Next, use your tongs to remove the lids and rings from the boiling water and screw them onto the jars tightly. 

Step Eleven:

Once the lids are secured, you will need to use your canning tongs to gently place the jars into the boiling water. Allow them to boil in the water bath canner for 40 minutes.

canning whole tomatoes in a water bath hom canning life full and frugal

Step Twelve:

Lastly, you will remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel to allow them to cool completely. I usually leave my jars untouched over night. As the jars cool, the lids should seal. You will hear them make popping noises. Once the lids have sealed, you can remove the rings and reuse them. 

It’s a really good idea to rinse the jars with warm water to clean any residue from the tomatoes. This will prevent mold from growing on the outside of the jars. And finally, dry the jars, label them, and store in a cool, dark place.

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NOTE: If a jar does not seal, you can place it in the fridge and use it within a week. 

Wrapping Up Our Canned Whole Tomatoes With a Water Bath:

It is truly rewarding to grow and preserve the food you have grown in your own back yard. It takes time and effort, but you will be able to use these canned whole tomatoes as a base for so many recipes. We have a really wonderful recipe for salsa and of course, these tomatoes will make the best marinara you’ve ever had!

Let us know if you try canning your own tomatoes with this water bath technique! If you have any tips and tricks for canning, we would love for you to share them with us in the comments below! 

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