Homesteading · Recipes

Water Bath Canning Crushed Tomatoes

When the end of summer hits hard, and all you see are piles of tomatoes staring back…a quick recipe to process them can be very useful, so you don’t waste tomatoes. Especially this year as the droughts are leading to tomato shortages and rising prices. If all you do is process them into crushed tomatoes, you can do SO much with them later. You can make pasta sauce, salsa and so much more when you want to – in the dull-drums of winter.

I tend to grow smaller types of tomatoes on our homestead, rather than large ones. Why? In the Pacific Northwest, especially far north in the islands, we just don’t have the heat or time to grow massive hand sized ones. So I process my tomatoes often using many cherry sized ones. I don’t peel, nor do I seed my tomatoes. We are used to it, and like eating the whole product. If you were using large, commercial grown tomatoes, the peels often are tough. But home grown ones that are smaller, often have tender skins. I myself? I don’t mind the broken skins and seeds. And frankly, it cuts my work time down to a quarter of what it used to be like, when I would seed to tomatoes. (And you cannot seed cherry tomatoes like that!)

Less waste as well. Waste not, want not, am I right?

Are you new to water bath canning? This recipe is a solid one, borrowed from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Using proven recipes to can with is the safest thing you can do as you learn.

This is the canning tool kit I use. For pint jars I use a 7 pint jar water bath canning pot with rack, like this one. It’s a buy once, use forever pot. I have had mine for nearly 20 years.

Do not use an electric food processor to chop up your tomatoes. You will get them too fine, and often turn into a frothy pink goo of tomato liquid. Either do with a knife or use a manual food processor/chopper. You will still have tomatoes, just chopped up. I’ve had one for years, and love mine. I can chop up 8 pounds tomatoes in just a couple minutes, using my arms for power.

Crushed Tomatoes


  • 8 pounds ripe tomatoes, washed and air dried
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt or canning salt


Place 8 clean pint mason jars in a water bath canning kettle Full jars with water, and half way up the canner. Place the rings and new lids in a saucepan, cover with water.

Bring the canning kettle to a boil. Bring the lids/rings to a simmer.

Meanwhile, trim the tomatoes as needed (cores, and any blemishes). Chop roughly and place in a large stainless steel stockpot. (Or use a manual food chopper)

Bring to a boil, then let fast simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the mason jars, pouring the water back in the pot.

Place on a clean kitchen towel.

Sterilize your tools in the canner quickly.

Using a ladle and a funnel, pack the tomatoes into the jars, leaving space at the top.

Add to each pint jar 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt.

Stir well with a bubble popper or chopstick. Ladle in more tomatoes till jars have ½” headspace.

Wipe rims of jars with a damp (new) paper towel.

Drain the rings and lids, place a lid on each jar, then a ring, and screw on finger tight.

Place jars back in the canner, lower in.

Return to a boil, process pint jars for 35 minutes. Turn off burner, let sit for 5 minutes.

Remove jars and let sit on a clean dry kitchen towel till they cool completely.

Check that the seals are down and tight (that they “pinged” and sealed).

Store with the rings off, a cool, dry and out of the sun.

Makes about 7 pints.

Use up within a year for best taste.


If using sea salt, only use commercial sea salt. The artisanal sea salts are great for finishing foods, but not canning.

Only use bottled lemon juice, as it has controlled acidity. Fresh lemons can vary. Modern tomatoes are far sweeter than 50 years ago, so you need controlled acid to preserve them.