Canning is an easy way to preserve the bounty from your garden. While some vegetables must be preserved with a pressure canner to prevent spoilage, those with a high acid content can be preserved with the water bath method. This requires no special canner; all you need is a pot large enough for canning jars and tight-fiting lids. Tomatoes are often high enough in acid for this method, and adding additional acidity ensures they are safely preserved.

Things You'll Need

Wash tomatoes under running water. Scrub lightly to remove any soil that doesn’t rinse away easily.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and set a bowl of cold water near the stove. Dip washed tomatoes in the water for one minute, then immediately place them in the cold water. Replace the cold water as necessary if it begins to warm up from the hot tomatoes.

Slip the skins from the tomatoes. These easily come off after boiling. Cut out the cores of each fruit with a tomato corer or a sharp knife.

Fill pint-size canning jars with the tomatoes. Add 2 tsp. lemon juice to each, then finish filling the jar with hot water until there is ½ inch of empty space between the tomatoes and the rim of the jar.

Place a new canning lid on top of the jar. Screw the canning jar ring on tightly to hold it in place.

Choose a pot tall enough to cover the jars with at least 2 inches of water. Place a cooking rack inside the pot and set the jars on top of the rack so they aren’t touching.

Fill the pot with water and place the lid on it. Bring the water to a boil and maintain the boil for 45 minutes.

Lift the jars from the boiling water at the end of the canning time. Use a jar lifter, which is available where canning supplies are sold, to avoid injury to you or the jars. Set them on a rack away from cold drafts to cool.

Allow the jars to cool for 24 hours. Jars are sealed if the button in the center of the lid is depressed. Boil any jars that didn’t seal properly a second time or use immediately.


  • Store canned tomatoes in a dark, cool room until ready to use. This prevents spoilage or discoloration.