Canning Tomatoes (no peeling required!)

How to can tomatoes

I hate peeling tomatoes. Which means that I also hate canning tomatoes.

Fortunately, this year I have found a better way, with ZERO peeling required! It takes a little more time than the traditional tomato canning process, but it is almost all “inactive time”, meaning that you can walk away and let the tomatoes do their thing, without any work on your part!

All it requires is a bunch of tomatoes, some lemon juice, a large pot (or pots), and water bath canning equipment.

First, core and cut your tomatoes into big chunks. I cut my Romas in half, my full size tomatoes in quarters, and threw in some whole cherry tomatoes.

Fill up your biggest pot(s) with the tomatoes, cover, and cook on the lowest setting for 24-36 hours. I have been doing 36 hours myself. Just stir occasionally, and keep a general eye on them. (I totally went grocery shopping while these were cooking. They are very low maintenance.) *You can also add some sauteed onions and garlic if you want to make spaghetti sauce. Please don’t add other vegetables or meat because it alters the acidity too much.

Here are the tomatoes after about 24 hours.
Cooked tomatoes

Once your tomatoes have cooked the desired amount of time, fill up your canner with water. *NOTE- I am using the water bath method, which I feel alters food less in the canning process, but you can also use a pressure canner.

Thanks to my little brother, I had an awesome idea of how to fill my canner, which won’t fit in my sink. Those pranks you used to always pull on me have payed off, Abe!!! Notice the rubber band around the sprayer?

Make sure you have enough water to cover whatever size jars you will be canning.

Water bath canner

Set the canner on the stove top, cover with the lid, and bring to a rolling boil while you are processing the tomatoes.

Wash your jars, and fill them with hot water to keep them warm. (this keeps them from breaking when you ladle the hot tomatoes into them.) Boil a small pan of water, and place the lids and rings in it to sanitize.

Now you are ready to process the tomatoes. They are going to be pretty hot, so be careful as you are doing the next steps.

I mostly use “crushed” or “diced” style tomatoes, so I chose to run the tomatoes through the food processor for a few seconds. You  can leave them just like they are for a chunky style, run all or part of them in a food processor for a crushed style, or in a blender for a minute or so for more of a tomato sauce.

UPDATE! A reader gave me the idea to use a hand operated food mill to get a crushed consistancy for the tomatoes. I am now using that method instead of the food processor. It also happens to remove the skins!!

Once you have your desired consistency, dump the warm water out of the jars, add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint, and 2 Tablespoons in each quart jar. Using a Canning Funnel, fill your jars with the tomatoes, leaving about 1/2 head space. Place the jars in the rack of the canner, lower into the boiling water, cover with the lid, and process. Where I live, I need to process the pints 35 minutes, and the quarts 40 minutes. Check here to see what the processing time for your altitude is. *If you are processing a large amount of jars, you can fill them all up, and keep them warm in the oven (around 170 degrees) while you wait to process them in batches.

Water Bath Canner

Once the jars are processed, raise the canning rack, remove the jars with a jar grabber, and place on a towel on the counter top. Leave them completely alone until they are cool. As they cool, you should here each lid “pop” as it seals. Once they have cooled and sealed, you can move them to wherever you are storing them for long term use.

Canned tomatoes

So there you go. I am all about taking unnecessary steps out of making healthy, real, and affordable food for my family, and this definitely saves me SO much time and work!

Anyone have any other time saving canning tips?

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18 responses to “Canning Tomatoes (no peeling required!)”

  1. Patrice says:

    Hopped over from Tuesdays With a Twist. I am going to be trying my hand at canning tomatoes this fall for the first time so I was glad to run across this post. Thanks for sharing.

    My Lamp Is Full Staff

  2. Last year I did some with peeling ahead of time but I remember doing a few batches with the peels too…in the end almost all canned tomatoes were for pasta sauce or soups and it didn’t matter to me if the skins were there in some! 🙂

  3. Sounds like a wonderful to can tomatoes.

  4. Felecia says:

    Hi Angie! Thanks for sharing this easy way to can tomatoes! I’ve found an easy way for me using the Vitamix. I just cut the tomatoes and add the ingredients I use to make marinara sauce. I do this in batches and cook the sauce down all day. I then can the sauce. I’m glad to have found another use for the Vitamix! Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

  5. JES says:

    Thanks for sharing Angi! I am about ready to drop the peeling myself now… Just too much when you have so many tomatoes. I appreciate you sharing your technique on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. Please join us again next week 😉

  6. Katie says:

    Hi Angi! Just read this article and it looks like a great idea. I want to do way more preserving and we eat a lot of tomatoes. Just wondering if I could get away with cooking them from say, early in the am, then caning them before I go to bed that night? My husband is quite the fire safety nut, and I don’t think I could sleep with them on the stove simmering away. So I’m thinking maybe 13-14 hrs, then a run through the food mill? Thanks for any advice! And great blog, I will be back!

    • Angi says:

      Yes! A long day of simmering should be just fine, as long as you don’t mind a late night canning session. 🙂 I understand about the fire safety issues, but I have to admit that I have something simmering on top or baking inside my stove at least two nights a week all year long. Haha.

  7. Katie says:

    Ok that sounds great. I can’t wait to try this ! Thanks for the advice! I will be reading here often. After years of renting, we are buying a house, and so my head is full of many many homesteading plans. I don’t have a food dehydrator yet, but that is my next big purchase. Thanks for the blog. It is fun to read, and it looks nice too!

  8. Leisl says:

    Is cooking them for 24 hours necessary? Why could you not cook them as usual (20-30 minutes) on the stove top then can them as directed?

    • Angi says:

      Hi Leisl!
      Ok, so the cooking length is so that all the seeds, flesh and skins cook down into super soft mass and no longer require the need for peeling and seeding.

      • Kristin says:

        I’m doing mind today. We found a large roaster for $10 at Goodwill so I put them all in there and let them cook till they are the desired consistency. I don’t use tomato paste in my recipe, just let them cook down for better flavor.

  9. Jiselle says:

    I’m wondering the same thing as Leisl

  10. I’m also wondering why so important to peel and cook for so long .As I do with beetroot just cook till tender and bottle in sterilized jars with preferred seasonings etc and vinegar with beetroot.Appreciate comments.

    • Angi says:

      Valerie, tomatoes have a skin that is somewhat unpleasant to eat when cooked, so that is why this recipe calls for such a long cooking time because it breaks down the skins so they are not so intense.

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