Canning Tomatoes (BBB)


In the past four days, I’ve canned over two dozen quarts of stewed tomatoes and tomato juice. Mostly stewed tomatoes, a few jars of juice. After the blah-blah-blah (I’m so specific!) of getting them blanched and peeled, I quarter them and pack them in jars with lemon juice, salt, and their own juice. I’ve learned over the years about packing them hard and not adding too much juice (or later you end up with a jar that’s half tomatoes and half water). I strain the juice that’s left over to get the seeds out and can that, too. It’s really good in chili and stews.

It takes me four days to can two boxes of tomatoes because I have a lot of other stuff going on. A fab canner intent on her task could do that in one day. You can do tomatoes in a boiling water bath, but it takes forever. I do mine in the pressure canner. Five pounds pressure, ten minutes. Good to go.

A couple dozen quarts of tomatoes isn’t half what I need for the year, and I haven’t done a lot of tomatoes up to now, so I really should do some more before they’re all gone. It was a bad year in the garden and I only got bits of tomatoes. I canned some, and even froze some in quart baggies, it was that bad. (No point running the canner for two quarts of tomatoes.)

How are you doing with your tomatoes? Are you stocked up enough? I’m so not.


Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by Mary Ann Yoder, dedicated to her mother, Mary Peterson. Visit Mary Ann at Calamity Acres.

For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. You can just put (BBB) at the end of your comment or otherwise note that you want to be in the draw. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight (October 13). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow (October 14). Return to this post to claim your book if your name is drawn (or check the BBB Winners List).

Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.

UPDATE 10/14/10: The winning comment number, drawn by, is #107, Mokihana. Email me at CITRgiveaways(at) with your full name and address for shipping!


  1. Lisa says:

    Am I too late? I’d love a BBB.

  2. LeAnn says:

    Hubby & I picked an apple box full of tomatoes tonight, they may be the last of them for this year as it looks like we might get frost tonight. I’m thinking of picking the rest (green)if it doesn’t frost. They have really been coming on here at the end of the season. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve picked them green and ripened them in the basement, then canned them. The girls (my 2 newlywed daughters) and I have already put up dozens of quarts of tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. I’ll be canning some salsa and maybe more spaghetti sauce this weekend with the box we picked tonight.
    Oh and BBB please. One of the girls could have their own canning book :woof:

  3. Luann says:

    I love canning tomatoes, mainly sauce…I was unable to can this year because I am finishing nursing school and getting ready to move on down in December….Soooo maybe next year will be a good tomato year. :0) BBB please…

  4. Blessings says:

    Here in Michigan our garden was lousy…the tomato plants only produced enough to occasioanlly have some sliced tomato’s….
    Always next year

  5. Darlene in North Ga says:

    My garden didn’t go either and then I had to move. So…not canned anything this year. I’d still love to win the BBB as there’s always next year.

  6. Richelle says:

    Yes, yes, please BBB!! Let’s see if I’m lucky this time.

  7. Megan says:

    Count me in for the BBB please!

  8. Grammie Earth says:

    You did well to get them done in four days! Where did you find the time? I would love a BBB.

  9. glenda says:

    I had a pretty good year with tomatoes in the new Orchard Garden so I have canned more than normal for us.
    I have canned juice, 2 batches of salsa, 2 or 3 batches of catsup,and just plain tomatoes.

    I have just finished 15 pints of applesauce.

    Just mincemeat left to do now.

  10. Peggy says:

    I canned lots of tomatoes, tomatoes with okra and spaghetti sauce back in August. The pressure cooker was a big help, but my BBB is so old it didn’t have directions for doing them via pressure cooker. Would love a new BBB.

  11. Michelle says:

    My tomatoes are pathetic; I”ve only put up one batch of homemade condensed tomato soup in pints.


  12. Celia Allen says:

    :snoopy: I would like another try at winning a BBB!
    The tomatoes looked delicious.

    Mrs. Turkey

  13. Mim says:

    made spaghetti sauce for grandkids…still need to can tomatoes for chili, casseroles etc…..pick me :pawprint:

  14. Wendy says:

    We got a few red tomatoes this year, some to eat, a few in the freezer. After frost we picked the rest- about 15 gallons- and I canned 24 pints of green salsa, and used lots ‘fresh’ in soups and chilli. We never get enough ripe tomatoes- too short of a growing season. Would love a BBB!

  15. northcountrygirl says:

    My tomato crop was relatively small compared to last year. But I lost half of last year’s crop to the tomato fungus that hit our state. I’m grateful for what I got this year. BBB

  16. Connie says:

    I only have a few yellow pear tomatoes left right now but I’d love a Blue Book for next year!

  17. SandyCWV says:

    I had a bunch of tomatoes from previous years still canned up, we had a lot. So this year with the lousy garden I was good to get about 12 pints of salsa and another 12 of sauce and that from other people’s gardens. I have a lot of juice ready for cooking – I didn’t strain any of it, if there is too much pulp and seeds I can do that before I use it. I also got 8 pints of green tomatoes in jars. Other than that, not much more than meat and potatoes this year.

    BBB me please.

  18. Anke says:

    We had a lot more tomatoes this year than we had last year – and it still wasn’t enough. We love tomatoes around here and we ate a whole bunch and had some left over to can. Maybe next year will be an even better year…
    BBB pretty please.

  19. Rose H says:

    Those canned tomatoes look yummy Suzanne. :hungry:
    Please enter me for the BBB draw, thank you.

  20. Laurie says:

    Finally bought a BBB this fall just to have it tossed out by mistake with the recycling:( I really need another. Please?

  21. Cyndi says:

    I would love to win a BBB. Thanks.

  22. Kathy in GL says:

    This post made me wish for the good old days, when we (hubby and I) used to can a bushel of tomatoes in one very long day! We used to get about 21 quarts of juice per bushel, and we weren’t done with canning season until we had at least 60 quarts of juice in the basement. There is nothing better than home canned tomatoes in the winter!!! Oh, almost forgot, BBB!

  23. ladybird_1959 says:

    The only thing that really did any good in my Kenna, WV garden is green beans. I canned 60 some quarts and my mother-in-law canned several pints for herself. My tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, kale and squash were basically nil. The corn got blown to the ground in a thunderstorm. My green peppers are just now producing. I’m considering not even bothering next year and helping out the local farmers. I love canning. Everyone says, “It’s such hard work.” I always tell them, yes it is, but it’s such good eating in the winter months! :eating: :hungry: BTW, I’d love the BBB!

  24. mom2girls says:

    The last two years I’ve had good intentions to can tomatoes, but we ended up on vacation around my peak harvest time. I just quickly froze as many as I could. Overall though, our garden didn’t do so hot (especially my green beans were a dissappoinment….and that’s never happened before). BBB, please!

  25. Betty says:

    I love your blog and read it daily. Have done a lot of canning this year since I no longer work outside the home and groceries are so high. Now I know what I am eating. BBB

  26. MNStacey says:

    Our tomatoes were really bad this year. Next year, we are going to try growing all of our tomatoes in those upside-down growing bags. That way, every year they will grow in brand new dirt and won’t be so susceptible to diseases (hopefully). Please enter me for the BBB!

  27. Langela says:

    I canned apples yesterday and will be doing it again today and possibly tomorrow. Also have pears to get done. I would love a BBB to help.

  28. Amy I. says:

    BBB please! Love your canning stories!

  29. Tiffany says:

    One of these days I’m going to learn how to can and put up some of my own veggies, of course my tomatoes didn’t grow this year either.

  30. Laurie says:

    I did 32 pints of sauce.I bought a fruit and veggie strainer for my kitchen aid mixer and wow what a time saver.I first roasted the quartered tomatoes drizzled with olive oil,smashed garlic and sprinkled with salt[kosher] and pepper[ground].The longer you roast the more flavorfull the sauce. I put each pan of tomatoes through the strainer 3 times to make it thick [2-3 minutes a pan]it removes the skin and the seeds. i can use theese to make ketchup,chili sauce,hot sauce,pizza sauce,enchilada sauce or anything tomato sauce based. happy happy me. By the way have I mentioned how much I love love love this site. I have learned so much, thank you all

  31. Denise says:

    We did not have ANY tomatoes this year πŸ™
    I’d like another try at the BBB please.

  32. Amy says:

    We got terrible tomatos this year, nothing to speak of and nothing to can. We did the same thing, rummaged through found a couple quarts to freeze:-( There is always next year! BBB please!!

  33. Elaine says:

    My garden was all weeds this year. I was sick most of the summer so I thought it was me. I am glad/sorry to hear that I was not alone in the lousy garden. I bought 2 cases of rome tomatoes for sauce and it took me 4 days to can. What kind of pressure canner do you have Suzanne? What is the best/worst thing about it.

  34. IowaCowgirl says:

    I’ll win that BBB please!

    And good job on the tomatoes. I’m wishing I had those on my shelves.

  35. ladychef says:

    Thanks Mary Ann! What a nice tribute to your mother. One of these days I’m going to learn how to can. If I win the book, I’ll be learning very soon!

  36. prayingpup says:

    I didn’t get to can tomatoes – didn’t have enough and again, it wasn’t a good year, here, for tomatoes. My daughter, less than 100 miles away, had a spectacular year and canned a bazillion tomatoes! BBB please!

  37. Rachel says:

    I dont add water, and have never tried lemon juice. I think I will try lemon juice next year! BBB me!

  38. Tricia in TEXAS says:

    BBB for unlucky me!!!

  39. Teri says:

    would love a bbb!

  40. Annette says:

    Our Tomatoes were pitiful this year, had huge plants, they just were not producing. luckily for us, my Mom canned a lot of juice and shared the bounty! But their is always next year for our little garden, we moved it to a less wet location and loaded it down with horse manure. BBB!

  41. Cindyintexas says:

    Only got 16 pints stewed tomatoes out of garden this year. I only have 3 left ;( maybe I will get more next year since I am expanding my garden here in South Texas. I have 18 plants growing now, but I am not sure they will make before the first frost. Please enter me in the BBB..thanks

  42. Linda T. says:

    Count me in please for the BBB

  43. Jenny35 says:

    We had eight plants that I didn’t think would do anything, then… Tomatoes were coming out our ears, it seemed. Almost finished; a few stragglers still seem to still want to turn. I’ve been very thankful for our little supply. A BBB would be nice…

  44. Amanda says:

    Could really use a BBB.

  45. CrystalGB says:

    Your tomatoes look great. I would love to have the BBB.

  46. Patty says:

    I have been eyeing up this book for years and would love to have a copy of it. It would be put to good use!

  47. Tennille says:

    I would love to win a BBB!!! :sheep:

  48. Barbie says:

    We had our first frost this fall last night, more that a month later than most years. I still have tomatoes out there, haven’t checked on the yet this morning, but I imagine they are zapped. SO covered the pepper plants last night. Should I can a fourth batch of hot pepper butter? I have canned and frozen a lot of fruits and vegetables this year, but no tomatoes. Sure would like the BBB!!!!

  49. Laree says:

    I had a full FAIL with the tomatoes this year. I had to *gasp* buy some from the Mexican food stores. Yup, I am trolling for super-cheap prices!


  50. Bonnie says:

    BBB and I’ll can tomatoes next year!

  51. Brenda E says:

    I would love a BBB to enhance my canning.

  52. Grammy Jam says:

    I have a confession…I am the world’s worst tomato grower. Ok, well around here it’s not so much a secret, everyone knows. Every year I try, I have gotten step by step tips from the best tomato growers I know, but the best I get is usually about the size of a golf ball. Bottom line is I suck at tomato growing! Thank goodness for the local farmers market and flea market to supply me with the yummy tomatoes that I love! BBB for me please!

  53. Janet Brown says:

    I would like a BBB! :shimmy:

  54. Marjorie Wolson says:

    Feeling bereft that I have no Blue Ball Book! I saw it referenced in a blog entry at “Never Enough Thyme” about canning dill pickles just this morning. :hungry:

  55. Kerrie says:

    We had a terrible tomato year this year…our whole region…but I’d still like the BBB please.

  56. Julie says:

    We’ve been doing tomato sauce and Minnesota Mix (similar to the stewed tomato recipe in the BBB). I joked with a friend that I could have a tomato based casserole twice a week and still have enough tomato sauce to feed her family of 8. We were picking tomatoes last night and I was encouraging the kids to eat all the cherry tomatoes just so I wouldn’t have to process them. It is supposed to rain all weekend and freeze Sunday night. So, I suppose Friday I will pull in the rest of the tomatoes and let them ripen in the house. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Now to figure out how to use them so I don’t have to have chili and spaghetti every night of the year. I did use the recipe for Mexican gravy you posted awhile back. I substituted tomato sauce for the chicken broth and made enchilada sauce. I had to thin it out with a bit of water, but the final enchiladas got rave reviews.

  57. Brenda H. says:

    We’ve already had a freeze warning and it ruined what was left in my garden. I was able to save some tomatoes though, but the only problem is they are green. So I made green tomato relish so I wouldn’t waste the tomatoes.

  58. Ashlee M says:

    BBB please πŸ™‚

  59. Amy Cook in WI says:

    BBB, please!

  60. Miss Becky says:

    Suzanne you work so hard. BBB

  61. Kathi N., tomato-less in Colorado says:

    We did not have a great tomato year. We got our first frost last night, so I pulled all that were left to ripen in the house.

    We got some to eat, but didn’t even come near enough for canning.


  62. Nancy says:

    BBB….I need the inspiration!!

  63. John says:

    I would love a BBB!

  64. dawn young says:

    I would love to have a BBB Thanks

  65. Kristen A says:

    BBB me please.

  66. melody says:

    I so much want to win a bbb!My toes are crossed.

  67. geena22 says:

    I hear you girl! I have not gotten any to can at all. πŸ™ My garden just wouldn’t co-operate. BBB please

  68. Raeann says:

    I haven’t canned tomatoes in a couple of years. Just the two of us now and not as much need! But I do need the BBB! Please?

  69. Ramona says:

    No, not stocked up. Our’s did terrible this year.

  70. Tammy F says:

    Would love to win this, BBB! I canned a bunch of tomatoes earlier this year (sauce and salsa, yum), but we had a bad year in the garden as well.

  71. skippymom says:

    I would love to start canning again because I can’t eat processed foods/store bought canned goods anymore [too high in sodium for my CHF] so I would love to win a BBB – and also help out our local farmers – I love our farmers market with a passion.

  72. Kris says:

    Would love BBB!!
    We had a great tomato crop this year, have 36 qts of toms and 20 qts of salsa.

  73. Vicki in So. CA says:

    We had an unusually cool summer this year, but our tomatoes did well. From 18 plants, (12 at our community garden and 6 on our deck at home) canned 6 quarts of tomatoes and 4 pints of tomato jam (using only the Roma style, ). The rest we just couldn’t help but eat fresh. This was my first year of canning, so I’m pretty satisfied. Costoluto Genovese and Cherokee Purple were our best producers, and tastiest eaten fresh. It’s HOT here (in the 90’s for a week) and the Costolutos are still cranking out fruit, but smaller. The rest only have a few stragglers. :wave: BBB please.

  74. Stephanie B says:

    Mmmmm …. chili! It’s perfect weather for it today. :snoopy:

    BBB please

  75. Betsy LaBass says:

    We went and picked 210 pounds of roma tomatoes at a farm near our house and I canned 72 quarts of tomatoes. They turned out great!!

  76. Teresa says:

    I wish I was able to can this year. There is something so satisfying about taking a jar of something that you canned out in the middle of winter. You may not be there, but it sounds like you are on your way.
    I’d love a BBB. Thanks so much!

  77. Rhonda S says:

    Love canning… woo hoo. And would love the BBB.

  78. Kris says:

    Here in (lower) Northern California it was a BAD tomato year. Unlike most of the US, we had much cooler temps than normal. Great for enjoying the outdoors (I really didn’t miss all those 105 degree days) but lackluster tomatoes. No bumper crops in August. Didn’t get enough to share until September and it wasn’t much! The beauty of being a gardener is the mantra “There’s always next year!”


  79. lavenderblue says:

    I garden vicariously through my sister and her husband for the most part. I grew some tomatoes from seed and gave them what the cats didn’t knock over and eat here. They also purchased some plants from a garden center. I was at their house around the end of August and they had not one ripe tomato, the plants were loaded though. All of a sudden in September the tomatoes started coming on and they have been working around the clock to get them canned. Thankfully, I guess because I gave them my tomato plants, they are sharing the harvest.

    They also grew some “Sweet Dumpling” squash from seed I’d ordered through Fedco, I think. They gave me some of those also. I told you I garden vicariously. I haven’t tried mine but they’ve eaten some and say they are really great.

    BBB, please. I really do hope to have a garden some day.

  80. Banana says:

    I would love to win a BBB. Thanks!

  81. Shelley says:

    It was a sad tomato summer here too. I only got enough to eat fresh from my garden, so I had my mother freeze all of her extras so I could can them when I go to visit for Thanksgiving. And I’d love to be entered in the drawing for a BBB!

  82. drumwife06 says:

    BBB for me please!

  83. Marion says:

    I got 5 tomatoes in total from my three plants – the weather was just awful for tomatoes here!
    I’d love the BBB :wave:

  84. Patricialynn says:

    Those canned tomatoes look so yummy… BBB

  85. marymac says:

    Done a few jars of tomatoes, but not enough, so I stock up at the store when I can. BBB

  86. Rys says:

    I’d love to learn to can! Please add to the BBB list.

  87. Kelly says:

    I canned tomatoes for the first time this year and was so glad I did…looking forward to doing a bunch more next year!

  88. Rosanne says:

    My husband, sister and I went the first of July, just the other side of Ravenswood, WV, along the Ohio River and picked our tomatoes. We picked 8 bushels of tomatoes in less than an hour(4 bushels for me and 4 bushels for my sister). Just $5.00 a bushel. Then with what I had in my garden I have canned 60 quarts of stewed tomatoes, 55 pints of salsa, and 30 pints of pickled dill green tomatoes. I had plenty of tomato juice left over from last year. I still have several green tomatoes which are ripening in my cellar. I sure will miss garden tomatoes when they are gone. I hate to buy tomatoes in the grocery store, as they have no taste.
    I saved tomato seeds from 3 different tomatoes I had. I am going to try to raise my own tomato plants in the spring. Wish me good luck!! BBB

  89. Celeste says:

    I’d love a BBB

  90. debbie says:

    I want the BBB πŸ™‚

  91. Lynette says:

    Would love to win a BBB! Thanks for the chance to win!

  92. Barbara says:

    We finally got some much needed ran tonight. Would love a BBB.

  93. Diane B says:

    I would love a BBB. Thank You!

  94. Linda Baker says:

    We had so many tomatoes this year, I canned four batches of salsa, made juice for the first time, canned so many tomatoes, I finally gave the last ones from the garden to a quilting buddy. Just couldn’t face any more tomatoes! Please enter me in the contest, I would love the BBB!

  95. LauraP says:

    I’m not a big canned tomato person. What are you making that you use that many? Chili is pretty much all I use them for.

  96. Ruth C says:

    I hope you get more tomatoes and the time to can them! And please enter me for the BBB!

  97. ayenbe says:

    I managed to get one jar (yes, one) of diced tomatoes (peeled, seeded, cut) and green peppers to use later for a baked chicken topper. Would have loved to have gotten more, but it was a tough tomato climate here this year.

    Would love a BBB! πŸ™‚

  98. Sarah says:

    I’d love a blue book! BBB

  99. Mokihana says:

    Would LOVE to have the BBB!!

    I used to can tomatoes all the time… but just used a water bath canner, and yes, it took forever! Never tried it in the pressure canner though. Shoulda!

  100. dawn says:

    This is truly a lost art!
    Wishing I was this talented!!!

    Happy day to you:) :wave:

  101. Jim in Colorado says:

    Love, love them stewed tamaters. Grandmother use to cook them up. and they had chunks of bread in them. And she also made some great salsa. I will have to see if I can come up with the recipe. If I can I will post it up.

  102. mariah says:

    BBB please!!!! πŸ™‚

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