Don’t let all those tomatoes go to waste! Try a few different tomato canning recipes this year!
Tomatoes produce a lot of fruits, and if you’re like me and plant WAY too many plants each year, you’ll end up drowning in tomatoes. Don’t let them go to waste; try different tomato canning recipes to fill up your pantry with all sorts of home canned goodies.
Last year, we grew well over 200lbs of tomatoes – maybe even more because I stopped tracking then – and I had to find something to do with them. I used my tomato press weekly it seemed like, but I canned dozens of jars of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pizza sauce, and more.
I still had more tomatoes left though!
You wouldn’t believe all the things you can do with fresh tomatoes from making homemade ketchup to tasty salsa or whatever else you want. I put together a list of some of the best tomato canning recipes you should try for inspiration.
Canning Tomato Safely – It’s All About the Acid
Years ago, no one questioned whether you should use a pressure canner or water bath canner for tomatoes. Tomatoes were acidic, so you used a boiling water canner.
Unfortunately, canning tomatoes isn’t so cut and dry anymore in terms of acidity levels. That’s because, as newer hybrid and heirloom tomatoes enter the gardening world, we’ve seen a new trend – less acidic tomatoes.
My husband loves these.
Last year, we grew some delicious orange tomatoes, low in acid, that were absolutely divine for BLT sandwiches. He typically isn’t a fan of eating raw tomatoes, but the low acid ones are his jam.
Unfortunately, this trend is why the question of how to safely can tomatoes now must be discussed.
Why Does Acidity Matter?
Acidity is what determines whether an ingredient is safe for a water bath canner or if you must use a pressure canner. Botulism, a dangerous bacteria, grows in foods with a pH range above 4.6.
Non-acidic foods, such as meats and vegetables, have a pH range well above 4.6. So, in order to properly kill off any botulism spores, you must use a pressure canner.
Tomatoes may seem acidic, but they are quite close to that 4.6 range. Some tomatoes are above that range, but others are below – it’s hard to tell, especially since the gardening conditions also impact the acidity level of tomatoes.
Since tomatoes have such a range now and may have acidity levels too close to that 4.6 range, the USDA recommends adding acid to your jars.
Here are some ways to increase the acid in your tomato canning recipes.
- Add 2 TBSP of lemon juice per quart of tomatoes.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes.
- Use 4 TBSP of 5% vinegar per quart of tomatoes, but many canners avoid this method since it’s the most likely to change the flavor of your tomato canning recipes.
It’s also good to know that tomatoes that aren’t super ripe have more acid. Green tomatoes are the most acidic.
Pressure Canner or Water Bath Canner – That’s the Question
So, the real question is – should you use a water bath canner or a pressure canner. You’ll see some tomato canning recipes calling for one, while others use the opposite.
What is the real answer?!
If you increase the acid in your tomato canning recipes, then it is safe enough to use a water bath canner. If you don’t want to do that, consider using a pressure canner to be truly safe.
Adding meat to your tomato sauce, onions, or mushrooms lowers the pH level and require pressure canning. I love canning mushroom spaghetti sauce – it’s one of my husband’s favorites – so I always use a pressure canner for that.
Keep in mind that some seasoned tomato sauces require pressure canning when you add garlic, onions, and bell peppers to the recipe. If you’re making salsa, pickled tomatoes, or condiments with plenty of vinegar, such as ketchup, then water bath canning is a safe option.
Supplies You Need to Start Canning Tomatoes
Before you try any of these tomato canning recipes, you need to gather the supplies. I suggest looking for canning jars and lids at your local stores; it’s almost always the best price rather than shipping them.
Here are things you need to have on hand.
- Water Bath Canner: You need a water bath canner for salsas and other high-acid tomato canning recipes.
- Pressure Canner: Technically, a pressure canner can also be used as a water bath canner if you don’t tighten the lid down to create pressure. If you only can buy one, I suggest getting a pressure canner! I know a lot of people recommend the All American Canner – I know it’s amazing – but I’ve used my Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner for about 7 years now with major success at a fraction of the cost.
- Canning Books: Even though I list some awesome recipes for you to try, I suggest getting at least one canning book. I tried the season tomato sauce recipe from The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving last year and my family loved it! You never know where you find the perfect recipe your family loves.
- Citric Acid: Your local grocery store will have lemon juice and vinegar to add acidity, but chances are you’ll need to get citric acid online. Grab a big bag; it’ll last for years! You really only use a teaspoon or so at a time.
24 Tomato Canning Recipes
1. Canning Whole Tomatoes
One of the first things you should try is canning whole tomatoes. Having whole tomatoes is a versatile item to put into your homestead pantry. Toss them into soups, stews, and so many other dishes.
Even if you don’t typically use them, I suggest putting some canned whole tomatoes on your shelf – so worth it!
2. Canning Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is one of those tomato canning recipes you HAVE to try. Those little cans at the store are expensive, and tomato paste adds so much flavor to dishes. It’s all the flavor of the tomato concentrated into a smaller amount.
This process of canning tomato paste takes time, but the reward you get in flavor is well worth it!
3. Canning Diced Tomatoes
Are you tired of buying cans of diced tomato at the store? Can diced tomatoes at home!
This is another great way to preserve tomatoes that is practical – you know you’ll use these for sure! We add diced tomatoes into all sorts of dishes, especially sauces, soups, and stews.
You’ll love these instructions AND it requires no peeling – score!
4. Canning Diced Tomatoes without a Pressure Canner
Here’s another awesome recipe for canning diced tomatoes without the need of a pressure canner. Savoring the Good provides detailed instructions for new canners to follow; it’s a basic recipe with the option of using lemon juice or citric acid.
This recipe uses two ingredients only!
5. Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Canning
If you’re looking for a seasoned tomato sauce for easy dinners, you’ll like this recipe. It reminds me of my family’s traditional sauce that we use all the time. This recipe uses a water bath canner and added acidity, but if you want to forego the extra acid, you’ll need to use a pressure canner.
6. Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce
I love a good basil garlic tomato sauce recipe; it’s what I typically pick for our weekday meals. This recipe looks delicious; you have to sauté the tomatoes with the garlic and onions. I’m sure the flavors are delicious.
Yesterday on Tuesday even includes free labels for your canning jars – adorable!
7. Homemade Pasta Sauce
When it comes to tomato canning recipes, you always have to try different pasta sauce recipes. This homemade pasta sauce recipe by Feast & Farm gives instructions for using fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes because, let’s be honest, not everyone grows enough tomatoes to turn into sauce.
This recipe sounds great and comes with simple instructions to follow.
8. Canning Fresh Tomato Juice
Another essential tomato canning recipe you need to try is making and canning your own tomato juice. Every homestead pantry needs a few jars of tomato juice; it’s a versatile ingredient that you can add to soups and stews.
Check out these easy to follow instructions from Old World Garden Farms. They even have a spicy homemade V8 recipe to try too!
9. Home Canned Tomato Soup
Tomato soup is one of those quintessential lunch meals everyone enjoys, so if you have a surplus of tomatoes, it makes sense to add home canned tomato soup to your tomato canning recipes.
10. Home Canned Rotel: Tomatoes & Chilies
I always have a few recipes I make each year that call for Rotel, like a good sausage and cheese dip for birthday parties. Skip the canned stuff at the store and try canning tomatoes and chilies together for your own Rotel Copycat.
11. Canning Fresh Salsa
Everyone needs a good and easy salsa canning recipe, and that’s exactly what this is. This recipe by Joyfully Thriving only uses 7 ingredients with tutorial steps to follow for success. You’ll love this recipe!
12. Canning Salsa
Do you want a salsa recipe for canning that you can safely adjust? You’ll love this recipe by Proverbs 31 Homestead. She gives you a great recipe to use with advice on how to adjust it to your taste preferences.
Give it a try!
13. Cherry Tomato Salsa
Cherry tomato plants are known for producing a ton of tomatoes, so if you feel like you’re drowning, try making cherry tomato salsa. This recipe looks delicious, and it uses easy to find ingredients. It’s not too complex, so it’s perfect for beginners!
14. Zucchini Salsa
One of my favorite recipes I make for my family is zucchini salsa. It kills two birds with one stone – it uses plenty of tomatoes AND zucchini, which I always seem to have way too much on my hands anyway.
This recipe is one of my family’s favorite, and I always serve it at parties. Yum!
Related: Zucchini Relish
15. Home Canned Pizza Sauce
Another must-have on my list of tomato canning recipes is pizza sauce. Truthfully, our family uses more canned pizza sauce than tomato sauce. I’m doubling my quantity that I canned last year!
This recipe by An Oregon Cottage is delicious with all the right herbs and flavor you want on top of your pizza.
16. Homemade Pizza Sauce
Here is another awesome pizza sauce recipe to try. Its full of flavor and easy to make! She uses canned tomatoes, but you can substitute for fresh tomatoes as well.
17. Homemade Ketchup
Are you ready to try some old fashioned, homemade ketchup and can it for the year? You will love this ketchup canning recipe from Mountain Feed.
The process takes time; you have to slow cook those tomatoes down, drawing out the rich flavors of the tomatoes. The recipe is exactly what ketchup should taste like, and it contains no modern additives like the store-bought type.
18. Canning Tomato Jam
Instead of ketchup, try canning tomato jam. It can be used on burgers, hot dogs, brats – ANYTHING! This recipe by A Farm Girl in the Making has the sweetness you think of with ketchup and the perfect thickness combined with a kick from some red pepper.
One of the best reasons to give it a try is that it doesn’t take as long to simmer and boil down like traditional ketchup. Tomato jam rocks – make a batch and see what you think. I bet it goes down as one of your favorite tomato canning recipes!
19. Stewed Tomatoes and Vegetables
Stewed tomatoes and vegetables is a yummy mixture of tomatoes with onions, garlic, green peppers, celery, and whatever other veggies you want to add. Canning these and keeping them in your pantry gives you a base to add to casseroles, soups, pasta sauces, and other recipes.
20. Green Tomato Chow Chow
If you have extra green tomatoes in your garden, don’t let them go to waste – make green tomato chow chow.
This recipe is similar to relish with a tangy yet sweet taste you’ll love. Chow Chow is a traditional Canadian condiment, so if you aren’t familiar, don’t be surprised. It’s typically called tomato chow or green tomato relish, and it’s regularly served with cold deli meats, burgers, hot dogs, fish sandwiches, or sausage sandwiches.
21. Tomato Relish with Eggplant
Most people assume you cannot preserve eggplant because it gets soggy and not so yummy. Eggplant lovers need to try gvetch – a tomato relish with eggplant.
This is a safe way to can both eggplant and tomatoes, so you don’t have to let either go to waste.
22. Green Tomato Pickles
Looking for ways to use up your green tomatoes? Try making green tomato pickles!
This recipe is easy to use, and you need a water bath canner. It works best with green cherry tomatoes – the tomatoes that are supposed to stay green.
23. Dilled Grape Tomatoes
Grape tomato plants are highly prolific so it’s not surprising when you end up drowning in these little tomatoes. Instead of tossing them in tomato sauce – which you can do – try pickling them using this dilled grape tomato recipe.
24. Russian Grandma’s Pickled Tomatoes
Here’s another one of my favorite tomato canning recipes – Russian pickled tomatoes. Pickled tomatoes have a long history in Russia, and they are full of delicious flavors.
These are a yummy snack or an appetizer that stay on your shelf for months at a time. They’re perfect for antipasto trays!
These are just a few amazing tomato canning recipes. Think about what your family would eat the most, and then try a few new things to add to your pantry shelves this year.
Don’t let the food go to waste!