Canning stewed tomatoes gives you a versatile ingredient. I use it as a base for stews. I use it in my chili. I will pour it over a roast in a Crockpot.
Please note: I like this recipe because it has lots of veggies. It has only been tested as safe in a pressure canner. There are recipes available that are meant for a water bath, but this is not one. Please don’t skip processing!
You will need to know how to use a pressure canner. This how to use a pressure canner page has more detailed information and step-by-step instructions.
This recipe makes approximately 7 pints. For my family, I almost always double this and do quarts.
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Canning Stewed Tomatoes: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions
Gather your canning supplies and ingredients.
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning lids and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large pot or blancher
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels and dish cloths
- You will need about 24 large tomatoes (enough to make 4 quarts peeled and chopped tomatoes)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cup chopped celery or green peppers
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp. canning salt
- Lemon juice (Ball’s canning recipe, my original source, doesn’t include lemon juice, but I’ve opted to include it for acidity per NCHFP safety recommendations.)
Note about the quantity: You’ll need 4 quarts of chopped, cored tomatoes. This cooks down a bit, so you should end up with around 3 quarts or 7 pints of stewed tomatoes when you are finished.
Peeling Tomatoes for Stewed Tomatoes
Start by preparing your jars and getting water in your canner heating. (See pressure canning for full directions.)
You’ll start by skinning (or peeling) your tomatoes.
Blanching tomatoes to remove skins is the easiest way for me. Use a blancher or a basket to dip your tomatoes, or you can just use a slotted spoon and a big pot of boiling water.
I have a Polder Stainless Steel Strainer and I love it! Highly recommended for all kinds of projects. Here is a link to it on Amazon: Polder Strainer
Depending on the size of the tomato, blanch 4 to 6 at a time. In these pictures I am working with Roma tomatoes. I like them for canning, because they are meatier than other tomatoes. They are smaller, so I can fit more in the strainer.
Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until you see the skins split. Start counting as soon as your tomatoes hit the water. Don’t wait for the water to come back to a boil to start your count time.
Quick Cleanup Tip
When I am canning stewed tomatoes or any other style of tomatoes, I love this super easy cleanup tip!
I have pots and containers set up in my double sink. The one on the left is for the cold water to cool the tomatoes as they come out of the hot water. The one on the right is to slide the skins off into. I slip the peeled tomatoes into a measuring bowl to measure how much I am getting done.
The work area is lower than if you set them on a counter. This make is easier on the arms and the sink makes for easy cleaning up later. Love that easy cleanup!
Home Canning Stewed Tomatoes
When you remove the tomatoes, drop them immediately into sink or bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. The skins should just slide off in your hands. Occasionally, I’ll use a knife on some stubborn spots. Slip off skins, and if you are working with larger tomatoes, quarter them. These are the smaller Romas, so I don’t bother cutting them up. They will mash up when I cook them.
Repeat steps until all tomatoes are skinned and chopped. You may need to let your water come back to heat in between batches in the blancher.
Chop your onion and pepper.
Remember, when canning stewed tomatoes like this, you can safely adjust the type of pepper you use in stewed tomatoes.
Use a hotter variety for a spicy jar. Use bell or banana peppers for mild. Just don’t change the quantity or ratio of tomatoes to vegetables.
You can chop your onions and peppers either by hand, or chunk them up and place in a food processor! Love my food processor. The size of the pepper is not vital. You just want them chopped. If you use a processor, don’t overdo it! You can practically liquefy them. Don’t go that far. 🙂
Did you note the lack of pictures of onion chopping? That is because this day I had particularly potent onions and I was trying to just get them chopped as quickly as possible! No time for pictures because my eyes were tearing so badly. (sigh) What I do for my family. 🙂
Add your chopped onion and chopped bell pepper (or celery). Add the salt and sugar.
Simmer 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. At first, the mix will be chunky with pieces of tomato. By the time it is heated through, however, your tomatoes will be soft and saucy.
Pour hot stewed tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add lemon juice to each jar (1 Tbsp. per pint or 2 Tbsp. per quart.)
Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.
Follow pressure canning instructions.
Processing Times for Canning Stewed Tomatoes
Process pints for 15 minutes.
Process quarts for 20 minutes.
Be sure to adjust processing according to your altitude using the chart below. For more information, see this altitude adjustments page.
There you go–now you know how to make stewed tomatoes yourself!
Canning Stewed Tomatoes
- About 24 large tomatoes enough to make 4 quarts of prepared tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped onions optional
- 3/4 cup chopped celery or green peppers
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. canning salt
- Lemon juice
- Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.If you are new to using a pressure canner, see this article for full pressure canning instructions. This includes more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how a pressure canner works.
Hot Pack only
- Peel tomatoes.
- Roughly chop tomatoes. Put in large stock pot.
- Add chopped onion, vegetables, salt, and sugar.
- Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Pour hot tomatoes into hot jar, leaving 1/2” headspace.
- Add lemon juice (1 Tbsp. per pint, 2 Tbsp. per quart).
- Remove bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place seal and ring. Place jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process according to directions below.
Adapted from: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
Last Updated: 7/23/2021
Canning Stewed Tomatoes Tips & FAQs
Tomato Sauce Recipe
Here is a way to use your stewed tomatoes. I was making a tomato sauce to have with our supper and decided to share live on Facebook. Enjoy!
- 1 quart stewed tomatoes
- 1/2 pint salsa
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 1T dried basil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 pound Italian sausage, browned
Combine all of these ingredients in a Crockpot and cook on low all day. Serve over noodles.
Celery in Home Canned Stewed Tomatoes?
“I noticed you don’t combine celery and bell peppers in your stewed tomatoes recipe. Wondered what the reason is. I would like to have both, and I’m just wondering if I can. Thanks, Sharon. I love your stuff, Sue.”
The reason I leave the celery out when I am canning stewed tomatoes is…we just don’t prefer it. So I use all peppers and onions. You can certainly use celery too.
If you look at the recipe, in the ingredients list, I have celery or peppers. You want to use whatever combination of the two veggies, but use the same quantity. So you will have 1 3/4 cups of veggies total (onion, celery, or peppers).
If you want to do onions and peppers like we do, you’ll use the same amount of total cups of vegetables. I just don’t put the celery in there. I add more peppers or onions to make up the difference.
If you want to leave the peppers out, you could just do onions and celery. You’d use that same total number of cups. The recipe is good as it’s written. If you want to add celery, make sure to stay within the total number of cups per the amount of tomatoes that you have, so you stay within safe processing levels.
GREAT QUESTION. I’m glad you’re not just adapting recipes without understanding what you’re doing, because that’s really important.
Can You Substitute Stewed Tomatoes for Crushed Tomatoes?
If you have a dinner recipe that uses crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes can often be substituted for crushed tomatoes. It will have the onions and peppers in it, so just be sure that is appropriate for the recipe you are making. I often substitute these stewed tomatoes in my dinner recipes.
Clarification: If someone is canning a recipe that includes crushed tomatoes, you cannot substitute stewed tomatoes in that canning recipe (because of the vegetables in it).
Tips for Home Canning Tomatoes – Before you start canning, here are 3 things you should know about home canning tomatoes.
Freezing Tomatoes can be as straightforward or as complicated as you want it to be. With or without skin, cut or whole, SimplyCanning.com covers it all with a “how to” video included.
Dehydrating Tomatoes in a Food Dehydrator – Learn how to dry tomatoes in a food dehydrator.
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Source: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
Page last updated: 7/23/2021