It’s that time again – time to drag out the old canner and get started putting up foods for winter. Even if you have never canned a day in your life, we have some great recipes and methods for you to try. Our list of tomato canning methods gives you loads of easy ways to store those tomatoes even if you don’t have a canner or prefer not to do your own canning and preserving.
If you have tomatoes coming out your ears from a full garden or even if you just want to purchase a bushel or so from your local farmer’s market, learning to preserve or “put them up” for winter is a great way to keep fresh foods in your home even when the weather outside turns frightful. Choose your favorite canning method or if you have one that we haven’t listed, let us know about it. We’d love to hear your favorite way of preserving foods.
Canning Tomatoes the Old-Fashioned Way
Canning can be very fun and very rewarding. Because tomatoes contain natural acids, they don’t have to be pressured canned. Instead, you can use a water bath canner which is much easier. You just have to be sure that you prep your tomatoes and your jars and lids before you begin.
Once you have the tomatoes and jars ready, you just need to add a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt to the jars before you add the tomatoes. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and place the lids on. Be sure that you leave enough room at the top for sealing. Boil your tomatoes in a water bath canner for about 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts.
When your time is up, just remove the jars and ensure that all of them sealed correctly. Just push on the center of the lid. If it is properly sealed, it won’t budge. You can store your home canned tomatoes in a dark area for up to one year so you can enjoy them until it’s time to can again next year.
Techniques and recipes – Momprepares
Freezing Tomatoes for Future Use
If you don’t have a canner or you prefer to freeze your foods, you can easily freeze tomatoes. You can skin the tomatoes before you freeze them by simply dropping them into a pan of boiling water. Cut a small slot in the bottom of each before boiling them. You will notice that the skins begin to split once the water starts to boil. When this happens, just remove them from the boiling water and drop them in cold water to stop them from cooking any further. The skins will simply slide off.
Once you have the skins removed, you can cut the tops off and remove the seeds if you want. If you are working with larger tomatoes, you may want to cut them into quarters. This is entirely up to you. You can simply cut them up and add to freezer bags or if you want stewed tomatoes, you can just cook them in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Cool them thoroughly before adding to your freezer bags. As you add the tomatoes, be sure that you squeeze out as much air as possible so that they taste better when you use them in the future.
Techniques and recipes – Deepsouthdish and Makeithomemade
Freezing Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are so small that it really makes little sense to peel them. Instead, you can simply freeze them whole just as they are. This is a really fast process that does not require blanching and freezing them whole helps to retain the nutrients that are found in the skins.
To freeze cherry tomatoes – or other smaller types of tomatoes- just wash and dry them thoroughly and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Place the entire cookie sheet filled with tomatoes into your freezer for just a couple of hours until the tomatoes are frozen solid. Laying them out like this eliminates the risk of them freezing together into clumps. When they are frozen through, just add them to a gallon sized freezer bag or other freezer container and you are finished. You can freeze tomatoes for up to a year at a time and enjoy them anytime you want.
Techniques and Recipes – Gardenbetty
Make Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is a kitchen essential for many dishes and although it is not terribly expensive in stores, there is nothing better than your own homemade tomato paste when preparing tasty foods in the kitchen. Tomato paste is also very easy to make and can be frozen for up to six months or so before the taste begins to change.
To make your own tomato paste, just peel tomatoes and remove the seeds. Chop into relatively small pieces so that they will break down easier. If you want a rich tomato flavor, you can actually leave the seeds and peelings intact although you will need to strain them through a sieve before you freeze or can. Cook the tomatoes over medium to low heat and add a half a teaspoon of salt for every 5 or so tomatoes that you are going to cook.
You just have to continue cooking until you get a pasty consistency. Once you see this, you can cool the tomatoes and add them to ice cube trays for freezing. Once they are frozen, simply remove from the trays and store in a freezer bag.
Techniques and Recipes – Thekitchn
Easy Sun Dried Tomatoes
You don’t necessarily have to have a dehydrator to make your own sun dried tomatoes. You can use an oven or allow them to dry out in sunlight. By adding a few spices such as oregano, salt, thyme and basil, you can make delicious dried tomatoes and the process is much easier than you may think.
Whatever method you use to dry out your tomatoes, you will need to ensure that you scar the underneath side of the core and cut the tomatoes either in half or in quarters. Remove as many seeds as possible without disturbing the pulp and then add your spices.
It takes about 12 hours to dry tomatoes in the oven or about 8 hours in a dehydrator. If you want to dry them out in direct sunlight, make sure that humidity levels are low. You will need 3 days for drying time and you need to have a place where the tomatoes can lay in direct sunlight without actually laying on the ground. Be sure to arrange them so that each one gets plenty of sunlight and turn them after the first day and a half to ensure that both sides get plenty of drying time.
Techniques and Recipes – Food.com
Make Your Own Ketchup
Making ketchup is a bit more complicated than simply canning or freezing tomatoes but it is not so difficult that you can’t do it. You will need to remove the skins from the tomatoes by first boiling them and the soaking them in ice water. This ensures that skins slip off easily. Once you have the skins off, you will need to remove the seed and squeeze each tomato portion to ensure that excess water comes out.
You can actually save the liquid that you get from the tomatoes for use as tomato juice or simply throw it out. Ketchup requires a few seasonings and you can add them with your tomatoes to a pot of boiling water or simply put them in cheesecloth and add that to the pot. Add in onions, sugar and a few other key ingredients and simmer and allow your ketchup to thicken. You can preserve ketchup in a water bath canner and store it for later.
Techniques and Recipes – Pickyourown
Can Tomatoes without a Canner
So, you want to preserve those tomatoes but don’t have a canner? Believe it or not, not everyone who cans tomatoes actually uses a canner. You can do it without one. You will need to peel the tomatoes which is a simple process. You simply have to boil them for a few minutes and then drop in ice water to loosen the skins. Once you have done this, fill your sanitized jars to within about ½ inch of the rim.
You can then fill the jars with boiling water, and a little lemon juice to add acidity, and then clean off the rim and place the lid. You should ensure that there are no air bubbles so use a spoon to move the air out before putting the lid in place.
Instead of a canner, you can simply use a large stock pot that will act as a water bath canner which is the perfect way to preserve tomatoes. Just boil the tomato filled jars for about 85 minutes and they should seal perfectly.
Techniques and Recipes – Prudentbaby
Freeze Your Own Herb Tomato Sauce
Whether you prefer canning or freezing, you can easily make your own herb flavored tomato sauce that will be delicious on those snowy evenings. You just have to peel the skins from the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop the tomatoes into relatively small pieces. The sauce has olive oil, garlic and onions along with tomatoes and your favorite herbs and only has to cook for about two hours before processing.
If you are planning to can your sauce, be sure that you follow instructions for canning tomato sauce that contains oil. A water bath canner is not safe for products containing oil so if you want to can these, you will need to use a pressure canner. You can however, freeze the sauce by simply putting it in freezer bags or containers after it has cooled. Be sure to leave about ½ inch from the top of any container when filling and date all of your frozen foods so that you know when you preserved them.
Techniques and Recipes – Simplebites