Canning can be an intimidating process, but I am here to show you just how easy it is to can summer fresh tomatoes without a pressure cooker! Anyone can do it and you'll enjoy summer tomatoes all year round!
Growing up we had a MASSIVE garden. Full of okra, green beans, squash, eggplant, sunflowers, corn, zinnias, banana peppers, and tomatoes.
There was nothing better than summer meals consisting of the fruits of our labor.
But I will admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of tending to it or the work it required growing up - but I LOVED eating from it!
I especially loved walking downstairs to the basement in December and grabbing a can of green beans for dinner. There was truly nothing better than being able to have summer veggies all year round because of canning.
We would have big canning days for green beans and tomatoes at the end of the summer. Sitting on the blanket snapping green beans with my grandmother, and helping my mom clean the jars for the tomatoes are some of my favorite memories!
Now that I am older, my soul craves some of those things from my childhood.
And while I do have a pressure cooker, it still scares me and canning can require a bit of work.
Justin and I don’t have a big garden (yet) but enjoy our local CSA box every year. And I love getting big boxes of the end of the summer canning tomatoes to stock up my own pantry for soups and stews throughout the winter.
And guess what?!
You can tomatoes WITHOUT A PRESSURE COOKER!
It is actually super easy. Anyone can do it! You only need tomatoes, salt, and a couple of supplies and you will be on your way to stocking your pantry for the colder months.
- 10 pounds of tomatoes - any variety will work
- 5 teaspoons salt
What Equipment Do I Need to Can Without a Pressure Cooker?
Not a lot is required for this, just a couple of household items that you more than likely already have (or that are easy to get your hands on).
- Large stock pot*
- Wide mouth pint* or quart Mason jars
- New wide mouth Mason jar lids and seals* or regular lids and seals*
- Canning funnel*
- Large deep soup spoon*
(*All links are Amazon affiliate links and I will get a small portion of the commission for each sale)
How to Can Tomatoes without a Pressure Cooker
- Wash and dry your tomatoes. Add a large stockpot to the stove over medium heat. Quarter or largely dice the tomatoes and add to the pot. Stir and bring to a shimmer.
- Place a lid on and let cook for 3-4 hours. The tomatoes will cook down during that time.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, prep your jars. Place each mason jar in the dishwasher and run on a hot sanitizing cycle. Wash and dry the new rings and seal with hot soapy water. NOTE - the mason jars need to be hot when ready to fill with tomatoes. Adding the hot tomatoes to a cold mason jar glass will result in the jar breaking.
- Once the tomatoes are finished and the jars are clean, place a canning funnel into the jar and slowly fill the jars with the cooked tomatoes to right under the start of the seal - making sure not to get anything on the rim of the jar! Do not fill all the way to the top. There needs to be room left in the jar.
- Continue filling until the tomatoes are all used. This will get you approximately 5-quart jars or 10-pint jars full.
- To each jar place ½ teaspoon of salt per PINT jar or 1 teaspoon salt per QUART in each jar. Again make sure not to get any salt or anything on the rim of the jar.
- Wipe the rims of the jars if any tomatoes are salt have gotten on the seal and rim with a clean dry paper towel.
- Once the salt is in, place the new lids and seals on and close tightly.
- Lay a beach towel (or a large towel) on the kitchen counter. Place each jar upside down on the towels and then place another towel on top. Leave wrapped in the towels on the counter overnight or for 24 hours to slowly cool.
- Once they have cooled completely, double-check that they have completely sealed by placing your finger on top and checking for the top to not “pop”. Once sealed, store in the pantry.
- Use in any recipe that calls for canned tomatoes.
Making sure to keep the seal completely clean is super super important! If there is any salt, juice, or oil on the rim it will prevent the jar from sealing and will spoil the tomatoes and cause bacteria to grow - making them unusable.
If something gets on it, just wipe totally dry with a clean dry paper towel.
Once the cooling process has finished, press your finger in the center of the lid to see if there is any give. If there is not, your tomatoes are good to be put away and stored. If there is any give to it ("popping" at all), discard it immediately. There was likely something on the rim or seal of the jar making this can unusable and bad.
How to Store
Keep your tomatoes in a cool dry place like your pantry. Just as you would store any canned food item you buy from the store.
Frequently Asked Questions
These will last for 1-2 years. That is the beauty of canning! Being able to preserve food for an extended amount of time!
If for some reason the seal is broken or compromised at any time during the canning process or after, discard it immediately. You do not want to risk getting sick from the bacteria that can grow if the seal is broken and contaminated.
Use in any recipe that calls for canned tomatoes such as chili, tacos, marinara, pasta, etc.
Recipes Using Tomatoes
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Rustic Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Kale
- Sheet Pan Quesadilla
- Chili Con Carne
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Award Winning Instant Pot Chili