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How do I? ...Can Tomatoes

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Tomatoes

Whole or Halved Tomatoes (packed in water)

Quantity: An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 15 to 21 quarts-an average of 3 pounds per quart.

Please read Using Pressure Canners and Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure for hot or raw tomatoes filled with water in jars: Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split; then dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halve. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars (See acidification directions). Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired.

Raw pack -- Heat water, for packing tomatoes, to boiling. Fill hot jars with prepared raw tomatoes, leaving ½-inch headspace. Cover tomatoes in the jars with boiling water, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Hot pack -- Put prepared tomatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to completely cover them. Boil tomatoes gently for 5 minutes. Fill hot jars with hot tomatoes leaving ½-inch headspace. Add cooking liquid to the jars to cover the tomatoes, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1, Table 2, or Table 3, depending on the method of canning used. (Acidification is still required for the pressure canning options; follow all steps in the Procedures above for any of the processing options.)

Table 1. Recommended process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot &
Raw
Pints 40 min 45 50 55
Quarts 45 50 5560

Table 2. Recommended process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes in a dial-gauge pressure canner
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot &
Raw
Pints or Quarts 15 min 6 lb 7 lb 8 lb 9 lb
10 11 12 13 14

Table 3. Recommended process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot &
Raw
Pints or
Quarts
15 min 5 lb 10 lb
10 10 15
1 15 Not Recommended


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

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