How to Can Tomatoes and Juice

Today I will share with you how to can tomato juice. Canning whole tomatoes is at the bottom of this post.

First of all I just have to show you a few pictures of my Better Boy tomato plants. They are really doing well this year and we are enjoying fresh tomato sandwiches.  I finally got enough to start canning.

Choose vine-ripe tomatoes, wash, core, and remove any bad or damaged spots.

Cut into wedges and put into a big pot to cook.

Then I take my hands and squeeze some of the tomatoes to make some juice in the pot.  I usually add about 1 cup of water so the tomatoes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and scorch.

Cook the tomatoes until they are fall-apart soft and juicy.  Stir frequently.

It will take 15-20 minutes, depending on your size of pot.

I have a very simple sieve which I use to extract the juice from the skin and seeds. I do not have a juicer.

It sets perfectly into my old enamel dishpan -they probably aren’t even available any more!!!  I have one of the large white plastic Tupperware bowl but it is not big enough.

Dip the hot tomatoes into the sieve.  Fill about 2/3 full.  You do not want to  overfill or when you spin the wooden stick around the tomatoes come out the top of the sieve.

I was trying to take pictures during the process and I had to do everything with my left hand in order to snap the picture with my right so if I look a little awkward that is why.  There was no way to snap the camera with my left hand!!!

Center the wooden rod in the center of your hand and roll it around the edges of the sieve until all  the juice is extracted and the skins and seeds are left.  It is easy to do and you will soon get the hang of it. It only takes a few seconds to do.

When I am done I have a bowl full of juice ready to can.

I like to pour the juice into a large 4-cup measuring bowl to pour into the canning jars.

After the jars are filled to the lower rim at the neck of the jar I add 1 tsp. salt per quart.

In a small pan bring the jar lids to a boil before you put them on the jars and tighten firmly.

Put 2 quarts of water in the pressure canner. I add 1 tsp. cream of tarter to the water to keep the aluminum inside of the canner shiny and clean looking.

Carefully set the jars into the canner. Today I had 6 quarts and 1 pint. I put them all together as it really will not make any difference. Quarts and pints are both done the same amount of time. I was a little bit short on juice so I added an inch or so of water to several of my quarts of juice. You will never be able to tell I cheated!!!

Put on the lid and turn the temperature on high. After steam starts coming through the vent on top of the canner, set the weight on top of the vent hole.

After several minutes the canner vent will close and the temperature gauge will start to rise. It takes about 1 minute to raise the gauge 1 pound of pressure.  For tomatoes you want the gauge to go to 5 pounds.  Adjust your temperature to keep it at 5 pounds of pressure for 5 minutes. I set my timer. Do not walk away from your canner unless you take your timer with you so that you have that constant reminder.  Your canner is very safe to use and I have never had any accidents or close calls. But if you leave it and forget about it and the gauge goes into the black warning zone you might end up with a hole in your ceiling.

When my gauge reaches the desired amount of pounds I can usually turn the burner back to medium high and it will hold  consistent pressure.  A pound or two over is no deal I do not like to be under.

When the timer rings, turn your burner off and let the canner sit on the burner until the gauge reaches 0.  It is very important that you DO NOT OPEN the canner before the gauge reaches 0. The canner is under pressure and you could have serious scald burns and broken jars if you do.  When it is 0,  you  can safely open the canner and remove the jars.

I set the jars on a towel on the counter to cool.

Within a few minutes you will hear the “popping” of the lids as they seal. This is music to the ears! The center of the lids will actually pop downward. If one has a bubble and isn’t firmly down within 15 minutes, it has not sealed.  You may open the jar and immediately can it again using an new lid or you can put it in the refrigerator to use within the next several days.   This evening I had one that acted like it wasn’t going to seal-all the others had so I turned it upside down for a few seconds and it sealed. I got lucky!  Sometimes it will seal and sometimes it won’t. You have to do this within the first 10-15 minutes while the jars are still very hot.

I let the jars cool overnight and then I remove the rings. The lids will stay sealed and put the jars in my pantry to store.

Several very helpful hints…these are words to the wise!!!!

  • Watch your pot of tomatoes when they are cooking so they do not boil over or scorch (burn) to the bottom of your pan. You will learn your lesson very quickly the hard way if you don’t. It is not an easy mess to clean up!
  • Always, always clean up your pots and pans immediately. They clean up easy while they are hot but if you let them sit and cool, you will have a difficult mess on your hands. Tomato juice is hard to clean.

Note: If you do not have a tunnel sieve like I used, you can use a strainer, bowl and spoon. Sometimes I use this if I don’t have very many to do rather than get out my sieve.

If you want you may hot water bath your juice.  Cover the jars with boiling water for 15 minutes.

Canning Whole or Quartered Tomatoes

Choose vine ripe tomatoes and rinse in water to remove any dirt.

Put a large pot of water on the stove and fill about 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil.  Drop the whole, unpeeled tomatoes into the hot water for about 1 minute. Depending on the size of your pan you can do maybe 10-12 at a time. Gently remove tomatoes and drop into ice-cold water for a few minutes. The peels will crack. Take your knife and core the top of the tomato and the skins will slip off.

Stuff the whole or quartered tomato into quart or pint size jars. I press the tomatoes in, filling the jar.  By pressing the tomatoes into the jars they make their own juice and you don’t need to add any water. If necessary, you may add some water to finish filling the jar. Add 1 tsp. salt per quart or 1/2 tsp. per pint.

Pressure can quarts at 5 lbs. pressure for 10 minutes using the same method as used for juice. Pints, I do 8 minutes.


  1. Wade Johnson Said:

    We started our Better Boys from seed inside and then set them out. We are also having the best yield in many years from ours. If I let one get too ripe, the June bugs attack and swarm over the tomato. We canned 7 quarts the other day. I enjoy your blog. Thx, Wade Johnson

  2. Avinash. Said:

    Dear Sir, We grow tomatoes for seeds production. About 400 metric tons of tomato is juiced to take the seeds out. once after seeds removed the juice goes waste. Now i wanna use that juice to be used further. how best can it be used? please reply.

    • Pat Said:

      I have no experience dealing with that kind of quantity of juice. I don’t know why you could can it for tomato juice. Seems like that would be a profitable market.

  3. John Said:

    Love your instructions for pressure canning juice. The canning times listed today are way to long in my opinion and I do not like adding lemon juice. Do you have a page for canning whole tomatoes and the times?

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