Grandma's Canned Tomatoes

August 19, 2009
Author Notes

Every year since he can remember my father has canned fruits, vegetables and jams. He learned his techniques from his mother, my grandmother, who typed up her instructions and made an entire canning booklet for him (pictured above) when he moved out. I've been helping Dad with his canning since I was little and to this day we always set aside a few August days to preserve the bounty of summer. Our canned tomatoes are one of my favorites because I use them all winter long. They are great for making sauces, soups and spreads. Canning can be a little labor intensive, but the result is well worth it. —Kelsey Banfield

  • Prep time 5 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 quarts
  • 12 pounds tomatoes*
  • 4 teaspoons Kosher salt (1 t. per quart)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (1 T. per quart)
  • 4 Sterilized quart jars with lids and rims
In This Recipe
  1. To peel tomatoes, place all tomatoes in boiling water. When skins begin to retract remove them from the water and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking and loosen the skins. Peel the tomato skins off and cut out the stem. Press peeled and cored tomato firmly into prepared jar. Fill each jar until there is only 1/2 inch air remaining at the top.
  2. Once jars are prepared add 1 t. Kosher salt per quart, and 1 T. lemon juice per quart. Place lids and rims on jars and tighten.
  3. Prepare a large boiling water bath in a stockpot or lobster pot. Make sure water is deep enough that it will completely cover the jars. Once water has come to a boil arrange jars on a wire jar rack and lower into water. Allow quarts to process in the water bath for 45 minutes.
  4. When processing is complete, remove the rack of jars and place on a heatproof surface. Cover jars with a dishtowel and allow them to sit for a few hours at room temperature to cool.
  5. *Note: the rule of thumb is to order 3lb tomatoes for each quart you want to make. We usually pre-order our tomatoes from a local farm and find that one large bushel will yield about 16-18 quarts. You want to use a meaty tomato variety, they work best. We've used several different ones and always find that the farmers we work with can give us great recommendations as to which ones to use that year.

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Home cook, food blogger, cookbook author, wine lover, avid traveler, and mother of two young children. Check out my books: The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life (2012), and The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year (2015), Running Press.