How to Water Bath Can Tomatoes

water bath canned tomato sauce

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I have enjoyed so much having my own summer garden this year. Being able to have fresh ingredients on hand has been a blessing! And being able to have a home grown tomato sandwich? Well, that’s been my favorite thing about the garden this summer 🙂

Although our garden isn’t big enough to have enough tomatoes for canning, it was my goal to learn how to can tomatoes this summer….and I did! Our local farmer’s market had plenty of tomatoes to purchase for all my canning plans, and it’s been so much fun learning how to can my own food.

The canning process can be a little scary if you’ve never done it before, so I recommend starting with water bath canning.

Following a sauce recipe I found online at Melissa K. Norris, we canned our first tomato sauce with a water bath canner. Now I have enough pint jars on hand to make spaghetti sauce for the entire year!

Here’s how we did it!

Roma tomatoes are paste tomatoes and great choice for tomato sauce

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is wash your tomatoes. For this recipe, I chose Roma tomatoes we purchased at our local farmer’s market.

Paste tomatoes, like Roma, make perfect sauces because they are much “meatier” than your regular slice tomatoes.

how to roast tomatoes

After washing the tomatoes, you want to core them and remove the seeds.

Then, place them face down (skin side up) on a cookie sheet and broil in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 minutes. When the skins start to pull away from the tomato, you’ll know they’re ready).

pulse tomatoes in blender to liquefy

After they are cool enough to touch, carefully remove the skins, quarter them, and pulse in high-powered blender to liquefy the contents.

Each time you liquefy tomatoes in blender, add the sauce to a large pot, warming it slowly. When you have the desired amount of sauce in the pot, bring the sauce to a boil.

homemade tomato sauce

After the sauce has come to a boil, reduce the heat and continue to simmer until the desired consistency.

Meanwhile, prepare your jars for the canning process

You should have already washed the jars, lids, and rings.

  • Jars can be sterilized in dishwasher, but we chose to heat ours in oven at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave jars in oven to stay warm until you are ready for them.
warming jars for canning
  • Lids and rings were heated in water on the stove top and removed only when we were ready for them.

Next Steps

When your sauce is to ready to can, fill your jars with sauce, adding any ingredients you are using for your sauce recipe.

Be sure to leave 1/2″ headspace in jar for the water bath canning process.

Run a spatula around the jar circumference to remove any air bubbles. Then, with a damp cloth, wipe the rim of the jar clean. Place the lid on and screw down the band until resistance is met, then to fingertip tight.

Water Bath Canning Instructions

  1. Place filled jars on a rack inside of the water bath canner.
  2. Make sure you have at least 1″ of water covering the tops of the jars.
  3. Bring water to a rolling boil and process for 35 minutes (pints) or 40 minutes (quarts). Adjust for higher altitudes.
  4. Turn off heat and remove the lid of the canner.
  5. Allow the jars to rest inside the water bath for 5 minutes.
  6. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove jars from the canner and place on a kitchen towel folded in thirds to ensure the heat doesn’t damage your countertop.
  7. Allow the jars to rest, untouched for at least 12 hours. 24 hours is preferred.
  8. Remove bands and check seals and then store in pantry.
  • If any jars didn’t seal, store in the refrigerator and use within a day or two.

I love knowing that I have enough sauce on hand in my pantry to make spaghetti without having to run to the store for last minute ingredients.

If you’re new to canning, be sure to try water bath canning. I promise you will no longer be intimidated and will want to can all the tomatoes this summer lol!

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