Canning Tomatoes for Beginners – Quick and Easy!


If you have a garden and you grow tomatoes, there comes a time when you’ve got more than you can handle! You’ve probably got it in your mind to can them but you know it’s an all day event and you just don’t have the time between work and the kids! Each day that goes by you toss another moldy tomato in the trash and think “Ughh all that work gardening and here I am throwing them away!”  Canning tomatoes (a.k.a. jarring tomatoes, or some people call it water bath canning tomatoes) can be easy, even for beginners.

I will show you the quickest easiest way to can or jar your tomatoes that will take you about an hour or two tops!

Step 1: Clean and Dice Tomatoes

De-stem and dice your tomatoes. You do not need to finely chop the tomatoes or remove any of the seeds. This is a quick and dirty rough dice.

Step 2: Boil Down The Tomatoes

Put your diced tomatoes in a wide bottom deep pan and set your stove to medium heat.

While your tomatoes are starting to heat up wash and chop some fresh basil and throw it in with your tomatoes. You can also add diced onion if you’d like but you can save this step for when you open a jar to make your actual pasta sauce.

canning tomatoes for beginners - adding basil

Keep the heat on medium and occasionally stir until your tomatoes have completely softened and look like this…

Once you’ve reached this point, turn the heat off. You’re prepared tomatoes are done!!! Easy Peasy!

Step 3: Sanitize Your Jars

canning tomatoes for beginners - the sterilization process

I have an instant pot that makes sterilization very easy. You just place them in the pot like this and add about a cup of water, put the lid on, and hit sterilize.

canning tomatoes for beginners - using your instant pot

If you do not have an instant pot you can just boil water in large pot and boil your jars and lids for about 5-8 minutes. You will need this pot of water anyway seal the can.

Step 4: Jar Your Tomatoes

caning tomatoes for beginners

Take your sterilized jars and fill them with the stewed tomatoes. I usually fill them to the top leaving about a 1/4 inch at the top. Put your lids on and place into the pot of boiling water. I boil the jars for about 8 minutes.

You will know you sealed it properly when you take the jar out to cool and you hear the lid seal. It will make a pop sound. If it does not, look at the top of the lid and tap on it to make sure it sucked down. There should be no play to the top of the lid if you press on it.

Set your jar aside on a hot pad and let it cool and there you have it!!! Your tomatoes are jared and ready to store. They should last for a couple of years with this method. If you ever open a jar and it doesn’t smell right, then DO NOT EAT! I have never had a problem using this method. It was passed down to me by my Italian grandmother and is the quickest easiest method for canning tomatoes for beginners. canning tomatoes for beginners - the end result!

What’s so great about the simplicity of this process is that you don’t need any additives or preservatives so you can control the amount of sodium for your recipes. Also, they can be used in a TON of recipes besides pasta sauce. I have used them in chili’s, Indian dishes, stews, and basically anything that calls for diced tomatoes.

If you want to know how to make pasta sauce with your jared tomatoes, please continue reading in my follow up post called Homemade Italian Pasta Sauce.