Tag Archive | canning tomatoes

Preserving the Harvest: Canning Tomatoes

Our Kitchen Table hosted a skill share on canning tomatoes Saturday August 25. Just about everybody present had tips on making the process easier (not that it is difficult!)

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To begin, we washed the jars, rings and lids in hot soapy water then rinsed. While most heirloom and organic tomatoes don’t need to be peeled before canning because they have thinner skins, we had a thicker skinned variety. To make peeling easier, participant Deirdre Cunningham shared that we should use a knife to score the bottoms of the tomatoes with an X. We then scalded them in boiling water for one minute and cooled in cold water for one minute–the skins practically popped right off.

Next, we sliced the tomatoes in quarters. We added a teaspoon of kosher salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice to each pint jar before packing to the bottom of the rim with fruit–yes, tomatoes are a fruit! The lemon juice adds acidity to help prevent spoiling.

After wiping the jar rim tops with a clean cloth to ensure a good seal, we put on the lids and rings. Then, we processed them in a pressure canner for ten minutes at 5 pounds pressure. If we had used a regular canning kettle, we would have processed them for 45 minutes. Every jar sealed!

We used canning tongs to remove the hot jars to the counter on top of a couple dish towels to cool, taking special care not to jostle the jars (which could interfere with the seal). It’s best not to move the jars until cool, if possible.

Yes you can can.

The last Saturday of the month, Our Kitchen Table has been presenting canning workshops as a Southeast Area Farmers Market activity. In June, participants made low-sugar strawberry jam and in July, garlic dill pickles. The next canning class is August 25. We will be canning and oven roasting tomatoes.


Canning at food used to be a regular summer activity for many families across the US. Some of us can remember going to granny’s house and seeing the basement shelves filled with canned peaches, tomatoes and pickles.


While few households do it food today, canning still has many advantages. One, you can buy fresh, local, nutritious produce in season at a lower price. Two, you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals and high amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup being added. (Go to the grocery store and try to find pickles without chemical additives!) Three, it’s simply delicious!


The corporate food system has scared us away from canning. They’ve put a false message out there that canning is difficult to do, can result in food poisoning and requires all kinds of fancy equipment. Not true! Did you know that just about all reported food poisoning issues came from factory canned foods not home canned foods? Canning is simple. You can do small batches. And, you don’t need to invest a lot to get started.


Stop by the farmers’ market for fresh local produce 2 to 7 p.m. Friday at Gerald R Ford Middle School, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Garfield Park.