Video: Canning Tomatoes

A couple of you mentioned you’d like to see the process of canning tomatoes. Since I had some to process anyway, yesterday I got the camera rolling again.

Canning tomatoes the easy way from Mary Ostyn on Vimeo.


In the comments on the grape jelly video, I showed some of the costs of jelly-making. You don’t really save a lot of money canning your own jelly and jam if you have to buy the fruit.  However, homemade jelly is healthier than store-bought.  There’s no high-fructose corn syrup. And you can even choose to make low-sugar jam with special pectin. Still worth it in my book, even if there’s not a lot of money savings.

Tomatoes offer a much great money savings.  If you grow your own tomatoes and get jars for free or cheap  (thrift stores!  yard sales!  relatives!), basically you’re only buying lids. I love making spaghetti sauce from our own tomatoes all winter long.


  1. multi-taskingmom says:

    Mary I LOVE these how to videos!

  2. Is there any problem with the seeds in the sauce? I had read they’ll make the sauce bitter.

    That said, I don’t have a food mill, so I canned tomato sauce for the first time this week, seeds & all! I did peel the tomatoes, but after all that work, I won’t be doing that again!

  3. Mary,
    First, I just want to say that you are a beautiful and adorable woman! Loved these videos. I’ve never canned before and have always felt like it would be a very daunting task. But, after watching these videos, I may be heading over to my mother’s this week and picking some grapes from her vines. You have inspired me to at least try! Thanks so much.

  4. We can for healthy….not so much for cost 🙂 I’m always just curious I guess why others do it!

    THANKS for this video…..tomatoes is one thing we haven’t tried yet like someone else said I just thought it sounded difficult!

    What do you add to this to make it spaghetti sauce when it is time to cook? Is this a base for anything else?

  5. Such fun Mary. I loved watching the video. Can you tell us how you make your spagahetti sauce from the puree?


  6. I use this puree for a variety of things:

    –in many vegetable soups
    — in chili
    — in a variety of Ethiopian recipes
    — in West African Peanut Chicken
    –as pizza sauce (thickened)
    –cooked in with taco meat
    –And of course to make spaghetti sauce

    You can turn the puree into spaghetti sauce by simply adding a packet of spaghetti seasoning mix to a quart of tomatoes. (I sometimes buy the packets from the store, but I usually make my own mix— the recipe is in my book!)

    From this list, you can probably see why I try to can at least 100 quarts of tomatoes each year. They are useful for soooo many things!

  7. Ok, you might think I’m a little dorky for saying this, but you are so darn adorable in these videos! It just pulls together all those posts I’ve read of yours over the years and puts a voice to them. I love it!

    And your tomatoes look DELICIOUS! You cannot find tomatoes that look like that in TX. Boo!

    Great videos!

  8. Thanks for the great video. Please keep them coming, they are really helpful, especially for people like me who want to do these things but are unsure of how to start.

  9. Love the video!

    I’ve always canned (or frozen) tomatoes in chunks because I want the chunks in what I’m cooking…like in soups, etc. Do you also preserve some with chunks for that type of thing, or do you only use tomato sauce in cooking?

    I’ve almost completely quit canning tomatoes because I’m not patient enough to wait the amount of time the new guidelines say to process. That, and I always wonder how much nutritional content is removed in the processing. I’ve taken to freezing them. But I’ve almost got 3 freezers full, so am not sure I’ll be able to continue this way or not…

    Thanks again for a very informative (and cute!) video! 🙂

  10. I do can salsa with cubed tomatoes. Other than that, I do all puree.

  11. love seeing you in action! thanks for sharing this…

  12. Interesting, thanks!

    It looks like you use “regular” tomatoes. I wonder if you could reduce your cooking time substantially by using Romas? Just a thought. I use Romas for salsa because they’re less watery, with more substance. I do use the regular ones to freeze for other stuff, but they’d probably benefit from some reduction in liquid as you do.

    Keep the videos coming? Love ’em! 😉

  13. P.S. In that video you look WAAAAYYYY too YOUNG to be a mom of 10! 😉

  14. Thanks so much for making the video. I agree–you are adorable and it’s so fun to see a face and hear a voice. I like how you keep it simple.
    In the past I’ve made all my tomatoes into salsa, but this year I do want to can some tomato sauce. I thought I’d sautee some onions and garlic in olive oil and add that to the tomato puree.

  15. Yeah Yeah Yeah!!! I’m doing the happy canning dance! You demystified it for me!! Thank you!

  16. Mary–LOVE these videos! Thank you so much. I cant’ tell you how helpful it is to watch someone do this in a neat, clear way (hubby usually is the one who cans and his system of mess everywhere drives me nutso!)–I feel like I could do it now!

    Also–gorgeous, gorgeous new profile picture! 🙂

  17. AngelaMichelle,

    I personally would add the onions/garlic/oil AFTER you can the tomatoes when you are actually going to serve the food. Either that, or pressure-can the jars instead of doing a boiling water bath. The additives you mention will make the tomatoes less acidic, which increases the chance of the food spoiling in the jar, and you DON’T want to mess with that!

    RichMOMents– We do grow romas, but they are MUCH less prolific than the regular ones for us. I use what I have! 🙂

  18. Great job on the videos Mare! You look like you’ve been on film all your life. Our Beefy Boy toms look really good on that counter too.

  19. Love the videos! It is great to see step-by-step how to can tomatoes. I’ve been wanting to try but have felt a bit nervous about it. Now, I’m ready to can!

  20. This video is very interesting! I’m just getting into canning and really enjoyed seeing how easy it really is. I just received your two books in the mail that I ordered. I have tried 3 recipes from your book so far and two of them were soup recipes (Salmon chowder and cheesy corn chowder) and they were a big hit! My boys normally hate soup but they loved these two recipes. I just wanted to let you know they are both great books! I’m looking forward to saving some money on groceries. I am contemplating having a fourth child so I’m happy to be reading your book on raising a large family. Love them both!

  21. Mary,
    I have canned for years, and you have given me great ideas to cut my time!

  22. Hi Mary,
    For me freezing tomato sauce is a lot easier, since I don’t have any canning supplies. I imagine that would cost you way too much freezer space though, with the quantities you can! I cut the tomatoes in four or eight, then I cook them until soft. Then I use my hand blender to puree them. I let the puree simmer for about half an hour until it’s cooked down a little. And then I freeze it. Really easy as well.
    I love these videos, keep them coming please!

  23. I’ve always done the “trim, scald, peel, quarter, stuff into jars” routine – never thought of pureeing the whole ‘mater. Bless you for simplifying my life! LOL

  24. crazyeights says:

    this was so timely for me… watched it the morning I was blessedly given a box of tomatoes and canned 19 quarts that morning. Before I had just stewed them without blending, but I think my kids will like the skin chopped up better. All our garden tomatoes are still green. 🙁