Canning/ Recipes

Canned Raw-Pack Tomatoes

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You will use these tomatoes on everything.


From pizzas, pastas, casseroles, chicken, grilled meat, shrimp dishes….I honestly can’t think of something they wouldn’t work on. Except maybe oatmeal. That would be weird. I mean, just think of how many times you run to the store to buy a big can of “whole peeled tomatoes” for a recipe. Never again! These raw-pack tomatoes are sooooooooooo much better than anything you could buy at the store. They don’t even compare! And honestly? They just take an hour to make and don’t require a crazy amount of kitchen skill. Swear it.

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As I type this, I’m hoping and praying you can still find cheap (ish) tomatoes at your farmer’s market. I know we can, but we live in California. I bought 7 lbs of beautiful San Marzano tomatoes this morning at our market for $21 and I’m going back this weekend to buy more! Unfortunately, I really don’t recommend you try this with regular supermarket tomatoes. Find thee a farm stand, local market or farmer friend! The taste and quality of fresh tomatoes is unmatched by those frigid things at the store.

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So, I know I’ve made everyone aware of my canning addiction. I started when I was pregnant and just can’t stop. I’m turning into a food hoarder! It’s bad, people. I average two new canned goods a week, canning late into the night when I clearly should be sleeping since, um, I have an infant and all. But I just.can’t.stop. I don’t know why, really. I’m just addicted to canning!

Canning raw-pack tomatoes is my absolute favorite way to preserve tomatoes! Why? Because it’s so easy and doesn’t involve you trying to remove every last little seed. All you do is blanch the tomatoes to easily peel them then stuff them in jars with boiling water and a dash of citric acid. And, please, for the love….PLEASE DON’T FORGET THE CITRIC ACID.

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This guy makes your tomatoes safe to sit on the shelf for a year! You can find it usually wherever canning supplies are sold.

Raw-pack tomatoes have the most intense flavor of any preserved tomato product because you don’t cook the tomatoes beforehand (except for blanching them). Try them crushed in pasta sauce or on pizzas…divine!

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I can’t say enough good things about canning your own tomatoes this way. It’s a really fun weekend (or, ahem, late night) activity that you will be so happy you did come January and you are stirring them into a homemade marinara sauce. Your whole house will smell like summer again! Just try it. Oh, and for a fun variation you can add a fresh basil leaf in the jars right before you top off with boiling water. You’ll thank me later.

canned tomatoes-9069

Canned Raw-Pack Tomatoes

yields about 5 pint jars

Print this Recipe!


7 lbs roma or san marzano tomatoes, preferably from farmers market

2 1/2 tsp citric acid, divided {available at hardware stores on canning aisle or some supermarkets}

boiling water

special equipment:

5-6 mason jars with tops and screw bands

very large pot with lid

long set of tongs or jar lifter


Wash your jars, lids and screw bands well in hot soapy water. Set screw bands aside and place the lids in a small saucepot with water. Place on the stove and turn heat to low. Place clean jars in a LARGE pot. Fill the pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize.

While your jars are sterilizing, core the tomatoes with a small pairing knife. Not sure how to do it? Here’s step by step directions.

Bring another large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set this next to the stove near the pot of boiling water. Place one more empty bowl next to the ice water bowl. Now your station is set and you’re ready to go!

Once water is boiling, add half the cored tomatoes. Boil for one minute then quickly remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon to the ice water. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Once all the tomatoes are in the ice water, gently slip off their skins. Place peeled tomatoes in the clean bowl next to you.

Turn heat to high on the small pot with the jar lids. Bring to a boil. Bring a kettle full of water also to a boil.

Using tongs, carefully remove the jars from the boiling water. Place 1/2 tsp citric acid at the bottom of each hot jar. Pack peeled tomatoes in the jars and then carefully pour in boiling water from your kettle to top off, leaving 1/2″ headspace at the top of the jar.

Place boiled lids on jars and screw bands on. Be mindful not to screw the bands too tight! Screw them looser than you think and you’ll be fine.

Place jars of tomatoes in your large pot (the same pot that the jars were sterilized in). Put the lid on the pot and bring to rolling boil. Boil for 40 minutes (high boil) for jars to process. Remove jars from boiling water carefully with a jar lifter (available at hardware stores or online). After a few minutes you should be hearing the lids pop slightly to seal. Do not disturb jars for 12 hours! Jars that do not seal can be placed immediately in the fridge. Jars that do seal can be left in dry storage for up to one year.


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  • Laura @ SheEatsWell
    September 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve always been pretty intimidated by canning…but this looks totally doable. Just curious – do you think heirlooms would work or they way too different? I have a bunch from my market needing to be used up! Thanks for sharing!

    • jenna
      September 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Heirlooms might be a tad too juicy for canning. Most recommend using paste tomatoes (like roma) because they tend to hold their shape better and are meatier than other varieties. I’m thinking that a big juicy heirloom would just contain too much water and not be as flavorful canned.

      • Laura @ SheEatsWell
        September 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

        Thanks, Jenna! That’s a good point – I’ll save my heirlooms for sauce 🙂

    • catherine (FOOD SNOB)
      September 11, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Heirlooms are generally not recommended for canning, as their acid content is often inconsistent. If you used a bunch of low-acid tomatoes for canning, you could end up throwing off the acidity of your final product, thus which would then be unsafe for storage. 🙁 You could use your heirlooms to make sauce (and freeze it) though! Enjoy those tomatoes!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    September 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Now you’ve got me all in the mood for canning things, Jenna! I love the idea of putting fresh basil in to flavour the tomatoes, and I’m going to try to find some at the farmer’s market next week so I can get a big batch of these made before the cold weather hits. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Audrina @ Mindfully Audrina
    September 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    This is perfect! It will for sure be used effectively, since it really could go on anything. The colors are beautiful too 🙂

  • catherine (FOOD SNOB)
    September 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Great work on the canning! I have been pickling like mad this summer, and also did some diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

    Ball has recently changed their recommendations regarding heating the canning jar lids — lids manufactured in 2014 no longer need to be preheated. (And boiling the lids may actually cause jar seal failure, because it would be possible to overheat the sealing compound, causing it to stretch or crack before being placed on your jar.) Just a friendly note to check it out!

    • jenna
      September 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      that’s great to know and that saves me an extra step! Thanks, catherine!

  • Sam @ PancakeWarriors
    September 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Oh this makes canning seem not so intimidating. I’ll check out the farmers market this weekend and I might just try this. There is nothing better than fresh tomatoes in the winter. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Cathy
    September 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    These look fantastic! We just discovered the joy of quick refrigerator dill pickles this summer and have made several 1 quart jars, though they disappear super fast. What are your thoughts on canning cherry/grape tomatoes? We have a bunch in our garden and I don’t want to waste them.

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  • Maryea {happy healthy mama}
    September 12, 2014 at 3:43 am

    I think I may try this with my CSA tomatoes. I have too many! I don’t know what kind they are, though. They are a variety of shapes/sizes. Hopefully they will work for this! Thanks. 🙂

  • Jessica @
    September 12, 2014 at 6:30 am

    I would LOVE to can…however, I find it very intimidating! You make it look so easy! I will try out the books your suggested!! Thanks!! 🙂

  • Sarah
    September 12, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I am obsessed with canning lately. Just made some more pickles!!! You mentioned the book you use. What is it again? And are all the recipes in it water bath canning or are there pressure recipes too? I’m looking for an ALL water bath canning book to use and can’t find one that I KNOW is good and not full of strange recipes.

  • Sarah
    September 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

    What book do you use for your canning? and are they ALL waterbath recipes?

  • Stephanie @ Long Distance Baking
    September 13, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Canning always sounds so intimidating…it really isn’t though! I’ve only done salsa, but now I think I should try whole tomatoes. Like you said, the possibilities are just endless!

  • Bri | Bites of Bri
    September 15, 2014 at 5:39 am

    I’ve always been too scared of canning but this seems like a good spot to start! I might try it if I get enough tomatoes out of my garden in the next week.

  • Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner
    September 15, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I have to confess, I have totally used tomatoes on savory oatmeal! Spinach, tomatoes, and cheese mixed in the oatmeal and topped with a fried egg. These tomatoes would be perfect for it.

    • Nakia
      September 18, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Oh my gosh! That sounds delicious.

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  • sherri
    September 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

    thank you, Jenna! i’ve been wondering what to do with my bounty of home grown tomatoes. who would’ve thought that two weary looking tomato plants would produce 100’s of tomatoes?! we’re having a fantastic summer in the great pacific northwest and i’m the queen of tomatoes. going out to buy canning supplies now:).

  • Laura@SneakersandSpatulas
    September 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Do you think I could do this with cherry tomatoes?

    • jenna
      September 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      I don’t think so – cherry tomatoes don’t have the same acidity levels that paste tomatoes do, which would make them unsafe to can.

  • Lori
    September 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    It’s posts like these that make me WISH beyond dreams that I didn’t have a glass top stove. Can’t can. 🙁 I shall live vicariously through your photographs and mope in the canned tomato section of the grocery store.

    • jenna k
      September 15, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      wait, why can’t you? my mom cans on our glass-top, and i think my sister’s stove top is too (she cans a lot as well).

      jenna, my mom has been canning tomatoes for about ten years or so, and you are so right that they are amazingly delicious. i think they’re even better than using fresh tomatoes!
      random side note, my mom and sister started canning chicken this year, and it is really good! really random and weird, but super yummy.

    • jenna
      September 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Yes you can can! 🙂 You just have to get the right pot. We also have a glass stove top but I just use a pot designed for that type of surface to can with…here is the pot I have!

  • Brittany @ kitchen::candid
    September 16, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Remember in Muppet Treasure Island, the “Cabin Fever” song? I feel like this post could aptly be titled “We’ve got canning fever.”

    I really do need to start canning instead of continuously reading about it. 🙂

  • Caitlin @ teaspoon
    September 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I just took a canning class at Sur la Table when I was home in the states, but now I’m back in Switzerland to find they don’t sell Ball or Kerr jars! They have other kinds that use the rubber circle and clamps, but I’m too confused by it all. And all I want to do is can some tomatoes! I guess I’ll just have to slowly start stuffing them in my suitcase after each visit 🙂

  • Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño
    September 23, 2014 at 4:06 am

    These are beautiful! I’ve been a canning addict lately too—now on to tomatoes!

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  • Christina
    September 8, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Jenna, what size Bell jars do you recommend? Want to get the citric acid ratio right 🙂

    • jenna
      September 14, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      I use quart jars. 🙂

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