Canning Crushed Tomatoes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Canning Crushed Tomatoes
13 min reading time

Are you someone who loves the taste of ripe, juicy tomatoes straight from the garden? Do you dread the thought of having to say goodbye to that unbeatable flavor once summer inevitably ends? Fear not! With our step-by-step guide, you can learn how to can crushed tomatoes at home and enjoy summer’s bounty all year round.

Key Highlights:

  • Canning crushed tomatoes is a great way to preserve the delicious taste of summer in your pantry all year long.
  • This guide provides a comprehensive step-by-step process for beginners and experienced canners alike.
  • Using crushed tomatoes is ideal for canning due to their texture and flavor.
  • Before canning, make sure you have all the necessary equipment and high-quality tomatoes.
  • Follow our detailed instructions to achieve safe and successful results every time.

Understanding the Basics of Home Canning

In this section, we will delve into the fundamentals of home canning, including what it entails, how it preserves food, the role of acidity in canning tomatoes, and the essential equipment you’ll need to get started.

What is Canning and How Does it Preserve Food?

Canning is a preservation method that involves sealing and sterilizing food within airtight containers. By creating a vacuum seal, canning helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, extending the shelf life of the food. This process allows you to enjoy homemade flavors year-round, while preserving the freshness and quality of your garden harvest or local produce.

The Role of Acidity in Canning Tomatoes

When it comes to canning tomatoes, their natural acidity plays a crucial role in preserving the food safely. Tomatoes are slightly acidic, which helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like Clostridium botulinum. However, it’s important to ensure that the tomatoes reach the appropriate level of acidity to eliminate the risk of any microorganism growth. Later on, we will discuss how to achieve the right acidity in your canned tomatoes.

Essential Equipment for Canning at Home

Canning JarsAirtight glass jars specifically designed for home canning.
LidsFlat metal lids that create a seal on the jars.
Water Bath Canner or Pressure CannerDepends on the recipe and desired level of food safety. Water bath canners are suitable for high-acid foods, while pressure canners are necessary for low-acid foods.
Canning FunnelA wide-mouthed funnel that fits into the jars, making it easier to pour in the crushed tomatoes.
Jar LifterA tool used for safely lifting hot jars in and out of the canner.
Clean Kitchen TowelUsed for wiping the jar rims and ensuring a clean seal.

Having the right equipment is essential for a successful home canning experience. Make sure you have these supplies on hand before you start the canning process.

The Perfect Pick: Selecting Quality Tomatoes for Canning

When it comes to canning crushed tomatoes, the quality and freshness of the tomatoes you use will greatly impact the final flavor and texture of your preserved product. It’s important to select tomatoes that are at their peak ripeness and of the highest quality.

Importance of Tomato Freshness and Ripeness

The freshness of the tomatoes plays a crucial role in the taste and overall quality of your canned tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will have a vibrant flavor and a firm, juicy texture. They will also provide a natural sweetness that enhances the taste of your dishes. When canning crushed tomatoes, it’s best to use tomatoes that have been recently picked to preserve their freshness.

Ripeness is equally important when selecting tomatoes for canning. Fully ripe tomatoes not only provide better flavor but also have a softer texture that is easier to crush and preserve. Overly green or underripe tomatoes may result in a less desirable taste and texture. Look for tomatoes that have a rich, uniform color and are slightly soft to the touch.

Varieties of Tomatoes Best Suited for Canning

While there are numerous tomato varieties available, not all are well-suited for canning crushed tomatoes. Some varieties are more ideal due to their meaty texture, rich flavor, and lower water content. Here are a few popular choices:

  • Roma Tomatoes: Known for their thick flesh and low water content, Roma tomatoes are a popular choice for canning. They have a dense texture and a rich, tangy flavor that adds depth to your canned tomatoes.
  • San Marzano Tomatoes: Originating from Italy, San Marzano tomatoes are prized for their exceptional taste and texture. They have a sweet and slightly acidic flavor, making them a perfect choice for canning delicious tomato sauces.
  • Amish Paste Tomatoes: With their large, meaty fruits, Amish Paste tomatoes are excellent for canning. They have a sweet and tangy flavor profile that shines when preserved.

These varieties are just a few examples of the many tomato options available for canning crushed tomatoes. Experiment with different varieties to find the ones that best suit your preferences and desired flavor profile.

Tomato VarietyTextureFlavorWater Content
San MarzanoSmoothSweet and slightly acidicMedium
Amish PasteMeatySweet and tangyLow

Preparation Steps for Canning Crushed Tomatoes

Canning Crushed Tomatoes

Before you begin the canning process, it’s important to properly prepare your tomatoes. Follow these steps to ensure your crushed tomatoes are ready for canning:

  1. Washing: Start by washing your tomatoes thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Peeling (optional): If desired, you can remove the skins from the tomatoes. To do this, score a small “X” on the bottom of each tomato and blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then, transfer them to an ice bath to cool before peeling.
  3. Seeding (optional): If you prefer seedless crushed tomatoes, slice each tomato in half horizontally and gently squeeze out the seeds and gel.
  4. Crushing: Once your tomatoes are washed, peeled, and seeded (if desired), it’s time to crush them. You can use a potato masher, food processor, or blender to achieve the desired consistency for your crushed tomatoes. Be careful not to over-process and liquefy the tomatoes, as you want to retain some texture.

Once your tomatoes are properly prepared and crushed, they are now ready to be canned. In the next section, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of canning crushed tomatoes to seal in their freshness and flavors.

Canning Crushed Tomatoes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Canning Jars

Before filling your jars with crushed tomatoes, it’s crucial to clean and sanitize them to ensure a safe and hygienic canning process. This step will help to eliminate any potential bacteria or contaminants.

How to Crush Tomatoes for Canning

Crushed tomatoes are made by breaking down fresh tomatoes into smaller pieces while retaining some texture. There are different methods you can use to crush tomatoes, depending on your preference:

  1. Using a food mill: Pass the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the skin and seeds, resulting in a smooth consistency.
  2. Blender: Use a blender or food processor to pulse the tomatoes until they reach the desired consistency.
  3. Knife: If you prefer a chunkier texture, you can crush the tomatoes by hand using a knife or a potato masher.

Filling Jars and Removing Air Bubbles

Once your crushed tomatoes are ready, it’s time to fill the jars. Follow these steps to ensure proper filling and remove any trapped air bubbles:

  1. Using a sterilized canning funnel, carefully fill each jar with the crushed tomatoes, leaving approximately 1/2 inch of headspace at the top.
  2. After filling each jar, use a non-metallic spatula or bubble remover to remove any air bubbles. Gently run the tool around the inside edge of the jar to release trapped air.
  3. Adjust the headspace, if necessary, by adding more crushed tomatoes or removing some if there is too much.
  4. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean, damp cloth to ensure a proper seal.
  5. Carefully place the lids on the jars and secure them with the screw bands, ensuring they are not overly tight.

With these steps, you’re one step closer to preserving your crushed tomatoes. The next section will cover tips and tricks for maximizing the flavor of your canned tomatoes.

Maximizing Flavor: Tips and Tricks for Canning Tomatoes

When it comes to canning tomatoes, there are a few tips and tricks to enhance the flavor of your canned crushed tomatoes. From adding herbs and spices to acidifying the tomatoes, these techniques can elevate the taste and make your canned tomatoes even more delicious.

Adding Herbs and Spices to Your Canned Tomatoes

One way to add complexity and depth to your canned crushed tomatoes is by incorporating herbs and spices. These flavorful additions can complement the natural sweetness and acidity of tomatoes. Here are some popular herbs and spices that pair well with canned tomatoes:

  • Basil: Adds a fresh and aromatic taste
  • Oregano: Provides a savory and slightly earthy flavor
  • Thyme: Adds a subtle herbal note
  • Garlic: Enhances the overall flavor profile
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: Adds a hint of heat

Feel free to experiment with different combinations and quantities to create your own signature flavor. Just be sure not to overpower the tomatoes and adjust the seasoning to your personal preference.

Acidifying Canned Tomatoes for Safety and Taste

Acidification is an important step in the canning process, especially when canning tomatoes. It helps ensure the safety and quality of your canned tomatoes. Here are two methods for acidifying your canned tomatoes:

  1. Using Lemon Juice: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per pint or 2 tablespoons per quart of canned tomatoes. The natural acids in lemon juice help maintain the necessary acidity level for safe canning.
  2. Using Citric Acid: Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid in 1/2 cup of water. Add 1 tablespoon of the solution per pint or 2 tablespoons per quart of canned tomatoes. Citric acid is a flavorless and odorless acidifier commonly used in canning.

By acidifying your canned tomatoes, you not only ensure their safety but also enhance their taste by balancing the flavors. It’s essential to follow the recommended acidification guidelines to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and maintain the quality of your canned tomatoes.

Herb/SpiceFlavor Profile
BasilFresh and aromatic
OreganoSavory and slightly earthy
ThymeSubtle herbal note
GarlicEnhances overall flavor
Crushed red pepper flakesHint of heat

Common Missteps in Canning and How to Avoid Them

Despite the simplicity of home canning, it is not uncommon to encounter common mistakes along the way. These missteps can lead to less-than-desirable results and even compromise the safety of your canned crushed tomatoes. To ensure a successful and safe canning experience, it’s important to be aware of these common errors and take steps to avoid them. Here are some tips and techniques to help you avoid canning missteps:

  1. Improper sterilization of jars: One of the most critical steps in canning is properly cleaning and sterilizing your jars. Failing to do so can introduce bacteria that can spoil your tomatoes. To avoid this, wash your jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse them thoroughly, and then sterilize them by either boiling them in water or using a dishwasher’s sterilization cycle.
  2. Inadequate headspace: Leaving too little or too much headspace in your jars can also lead to problems. Too little headspace may cause the jars to leak or not seal properly, while too much headspace can result in excess air in the jar, potentially leading to spoilage. Follow the recipe guidelines for the recommended headspace and use a ruler or headspace tool to measure it accurately.
  3. Not following proper canning methods: Each canning method, whether it’s water bath canning or pressure canning, has its own set of guidelines and requirements. Failure to follow the recommended method for the specific food being canned can result in under-processing or over-processing, which can affect the safety and quality of your canned crushed tomatoes. Always consult a reliable source or recipe book to ensure you’re using the correct canning method.
  4. Using low-quality ingredients: It’s essential to use high-quality ingredients when canning crushed tomatoes. Subpar tomatoes can result in an inferior tasting and textured final product. Choose ripe, firm tomatoes that are free from blemishes or signs of spoilage. This will ensure the best flavor and quality of your canned tomatoes.
  5. Not testing the seal: After the jars have cooled and been stored for a period of time, it’s important to check the seal. If a jar hasn’t properly sealed, it should be refrigerated and used within a few days rather than being stored at room temperature. To test the seal, press down on the center of each lid. If it doesn’t move or make a popping sound, the jar is sealed correctly.

By keeping these common canning mistakes in mind and taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid potential missteps and confidently enjoy the delicious flavors of your homemade canned crushed tomatoes. Happy canning!

Storing Your Canned Tomatoes: Best Practices

Properly storing your canned tomatoes is essential to maintain their freshness, quality, and flavor. By following the best practices for storing canned tomatoes, you can ensure their longevity and continue to enjoy the delicious taste of your homemade canned goods.

Labeling and Dating Your Canned Goods

Labeling and dating your canned tomatoes is a crucial step in organizing your pantry and tracking their shelf life. When labeling your jars, include important information such as the date of canning and the contents. This will help you use the oldest jars first and avoid any potential spoilage.

Additionally, consider using labels that are resistant to moisture and easily detachable, making it convenient to update the information as needed. Keeping your canned goods properly labeled will save you time and energy in the long run.

Optimal Storage Conditions for Longevity

Creating the ideal storage conditions for your canned tomatoes will help extend their shelf life and maintain their quality. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Temperature: Store your canned tomatoes in a cool, dry place with a consistent temperature between 50°F (10°C) and 70°F (21°C). Avoid exposing them to extreme heat or cold, as it can affect the texture, taste, and color of the tomatoes.
  2. Light exposure: To protect the flavor and color of your canned tomatoes, store them in a dark area or cover them with a cloth or paper to shield them from direct light. Exposure to light can cause oxidation and lead to quality deterioration.
  3. Pantry organization: Arrange your canned tomatoes in an organized manner, placing the oldest jars in front and the newest towards the back. This will help ensure that you use your canned goods in a timely manner and minimize any waste.
Storage ConditionsIdeal Range
Temperature50°F – 70°F (10°C – 21°C)
Light ExposureDark or covered
Pantry OrganizationOldest jars in front, newest towards the back

By following these storage guidelines, you can ensure that your canned tomatoes remain fresh and flavorful for an extended period. Enjoy the convenience of having your homemade crushed tomatoes readily available for your favorite recipes!


In conclusion, home canning crushed tomatoes is a rewarding and beneficial process that allows you to preserve the freshness and flavors of your garden harvest. Whether you’re an experienced canner or new to the world of canning, this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable knowledge and techniques to confidently prepare and store crushed tomatoes.

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