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Basic Tomatoes

Print Makes about 6 (490 mL) or 3 (945 mL) jars

Preserve the bounty of your tomato vines through hot waterbath preserving. Follow these directions for whole, halved or quartered tomatoes packed in their own juice.

Level of Ease:


Preserving Method:

Waterbath Preserving

You Will Need:

  • 3.38 to 4.73 kg tomatoes (about 23 to 32 medium)
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Salt (optional)


  1. Wash tomatoes under cold running water; drain. To peel tomatoes, blanch 30 to 60 seconds in boiling water. Immediately transfer to cold water. Cut off peel. Core tomatoes. Leave tomatoes whole, cut in half or quarter.
  2. When using the natural juice of the tomatoes as the liquid in the jar, cooking is not required. However, the processing time is longer and must not be reduced. 
  3. Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to a hot 490 mL jar; 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to a hot 945 mL jar. Add ½ teaspoon salt to 490 mL jar; 1 teaspoon salt to 945 mL jar, if desired. Pack raw tomatoes into jar, pressing gently on tomatoes until the natural juice fills the spaces between tomatoes, leaving ½ inch (1.25 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rim. Centre lid on jar and adjusts band to fingertip-tight. Place jar on the rack elevated over simmering water (80°C) in hot water bath preserver. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  4. Lower the rack into simmering water. Water must cover jars by 2.50cm. Adjust heat to medium-high, cover and bring water to a roiling boil. Process 490 mL or 945 mL jars 1 hour and 25 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool 5 minutes. Remove jars, do not retighten bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Test seals. Label and store jars.

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