Bottling Tomatoes

We have an over abundance of delicious tomatoes this year. Too many to eat, so I have been canning them for use this winter in my husband’s delicious homemade spaghetti sauce, soups and Lasagne. I do not have a sophisticated canner and you don’t need one. You can make one bottle or a lot and you can do it using regular pots and pans on your stove. They do not need to be canned in a pressure canner since they are a fruit and the natural acids inhibit bacterial growth. Here is how you do it:

Gather your canning jars (I like to use the quart size jars), lids and rings. Wash bottles in your dishwasher on high heat setting. Just as the jars finish the wash cycle and begin the heated drying session, begin cooking your ingredients.

Gather your tomatoes and wash well. Remove any spots or decayed areas and plant material. You will need 4 different sauce pans. A large stock pot for your tomato mixture, two medium sized pans and a smaller sauce pan. You will also need quart size canning jars along with new lids and rings. Lids should never be re-used but the rings or “band” may be re-used.

Then simmer the following ingredients on the stove for 20 minutes or until soft:
1 diced green pepper
1 diced onion
1/2 c. water

After you start the above ingredients simmering, put another saucepan of water on the stove and heat to boiling.

While simmering the above ingredients, fill sink about 1/2 full with tomatoes. Cover tomatoes with your boiling water to loosen tomato skins. Remove skins from tomatoes and place in separate bowl. Be careful for they will be hot! Smash up and/or chop tomatatoes to whatever size suits your tastes and needs.

After simmering pepper and onions, combine tomatoes in same pan and add the following:

1 T salt
Pepper to taste
1 T vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Place the lids in a pan of water and bring to a simmer. After they simmer turn the heat off and let them sit in the pan until ready for use.

In a larger pan, place one of your bottles (1 bottle at a time) prior to filling with tomato mixture to ensure a proper seal. As soon as you remove a bottle replace it into the boiling water with another one from the dishwasher. Keeping the bottles boiling hot will allow them to properly seal and prevent spoilage.

When the tomatoes are ready, remove bottle from pan and immediately fill with tomatoes. Leave 1/4 inch space at the top of the bottle and wipe the rim off with a clean cloth. Place the lid on and seal with a ring. Set aside. Within 5-10 minutes you should hear a light popping sound. That is your bottle sealing. The bottles lids should not make a popping sound when you push on them. These are unsealed and can be processed again or placed in the fridge to be used within a few days.

This recipe will make 3-4 quart bottles. You will use all 4 burners on your stovetop at some point. If you have more tomatoes to can, just repeat the above process.

*If you don’t want to bottle them, you can simply wash them, pour boiling water over them to remove the skins, chop them into smaller peices and place in a Ziploc Freezer bag and store in your freezer.


  1. This Mama Rocks says

    I just came across your blog today. I love it!! I always need new ideas and love to craft. I just launced my blog this week for moms. I am doing my very first giveaway. You should come by and check it out.

  2. Vone says

    Great. I've been wondering about just canning tomatoes since I don't have the perfect sauce recipe yet.
    Just so I'm clear, you don't boil the tomatoes in the jar? Last year was my first year canning stuff and after I filled all the jars I put them in the boiling water to seal them.

    • Sue says

      Yes you should boil the jars once the tomatoes have been placed in them and you should also remove the seeds using a tomato strainer ( very cheap to purchase as it removes the skins, and seeds in one step so you don;t have to blanch the tomatoes first

  3. Nettie's Blog says

    i also make apple sauce the same way…just cook up the peeled apples and pour the sauce into the hot jars and seal the lid …they keep for years(thats if they last that long that is)…i use the sauce for pies, just to have on breakfast cereal and my family loves apple custard…. condiment for meats like roast pork. just add a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of apple sauce for that…

  4. April says

    love your blog! but….you actually should not boil the lids. the sealing agent is heat activated and may not seal properly unless its heated WHILE ON THE JAR, hence the hot water bath to seal. washing them with hot soap and water will suffice to kill any germs. i know lots of people who have canned the way you suggest, but just thought you should know :)

  5. **Amy** says

    April–I agree! I went back and clarified what I had written. I heat the lids until they are simmering to kill germs and bacteria and then turn the heat off. I do not boil them because you are correct that could ruin the seal. Your way is also a great way of doing it. Thanks!

  6. **Amy** says

    Vone–You can put the bottles after they are filled back in boiling water to seal them, but I have never had to. Mine have all sealed because I add the tomatoes while they are boiling hot to a jar I have been boiling. If you keep everything hot and do it immediately, it should seal properly! But if you are nervous that it won't seal, add the bottles after filled to a boiling pot of water.

  7. Yara says

    I'm gonna try your way. I made salsa and it came out great (even my non-salsa eating little girls ate it) but my sauce was not good enough for my liking. Not that I have an overabundance of tomatoes, we weren't able to do a garden at all this year (thanks to the dogs)
    but I did get into canning. My husband won't let me have a pressure canner to do veggies though, his mom had a bad experience with a pressure cooker so he won't allow them here now.
    I've made many many jars of jams and marmalades though and it is so fun!

  8. SarahAnne says

    I am doing my tomatoes today, but I am also canning tomato juice. I have never met anyone that cans like my grandmother with green pepper and onion! Well, she uses it for her juice. THen, you boil up some macaroni noodles, drain, put back in the pot with a quart of tomato juice and heat on medium until warmed through, and you have a delicious meal! You can add browned beef, mozarella cheese, etc. Me, I like it just the juice and noodles. THanks for the great tips. I usually use my in-laws water bath canner, but if it's not available it's nice to know there's another solution.

    Oops, sorry for talking so long….

  9. Leslie says

    I am doing tomatoes today. I have never heard of canning tomatoes without processing them in a rolling water bath but your method is much faster.
    We have tried many different tomatoes and we only plant Moscow tomatoes now, they have a much more acidic flavor than other varieties.
    Sarahanne: my family loves macaroni and tomatoes too. It is a fast and satisfying meal.

  10. Maureen says

    Any canning info I have read does not recommend anything other than pressure canning these days. Just thought I’d add that.

  11. carol martino says

    For 4o years I wash my jars then put them in oven on warm, wait til the’re hot, fill with hot tomatoes and seal. I have never had a problem. this is easier rather then boiling one jar at a time.

  12. Paula says

    Most USDA/Extension recipes say to add citric acid or lemon juice for acidity as is it not consistent among tomatoes-don’t the vegetables lower the acid? No oven canning


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