Canning Tomatoes, Italian Diced and Tomato Juice

My tomatoes have finally decided to turn.  With 74 plants, I know I will be overwhelmed with preserving them. Hopefully, they will continue their pattern of providing me with manageable amount at a time. 

Yesterday, I canned Italian diced tomatoes and tomato juice. 

I begin by cutting the bad parts off of the tomatoes first. I know most canning sites say to remove the bad spots after you remove the skin but there is a purpose to my madness.

To remove the skins, place the tomatoes in boiling water for 15-30 seconds.  You will notice on some of the tomatoes in the picture below, the skins are already starting to peal off.

Remove the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl of ice water.  This will cool them so you can handle them.  Once cooled, remove the skin and the seeds. 

*Remove the skins and the seeds over a bowl to capture all of the juice.  You can use this later.

After you have the skins and seeds removed, dice the tomatoes until you have about 12 cups, saving the drippings, including the juice from the cutting board along the way. 

Here is the recipe. (I have never made this recipe however I can attest that it smelled terrific).

12 cups of diced tomatoes
6 Tbsp lemon juice

Place into a large pot and boil for 5 minutes.

In the mean time, prepare the spice mix:

2 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1-1/4 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp rosemary
3/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes

Add the spice mix into the tomatoes and stir.

Prepare the jars.  Make sure they are hot.  Ladle into jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Add 1/4 tsp salt (optional.  I did not add salt.) If your jar is short of the 1/2 mark, fill with some of the juice from your seed and skin bowl.  Remove any air pockets.  Process in as boiling water bath for 35 minutes.  (I used a pressure cooker at 10-11 lbs for 35 minutes)

Now removing the seeds and skins of the tomatoes can be tedious and time consuming.  That is if you are spending the time to ensure you save as much of the meaty parts as possible.  I don't spend too much time on this.  All of the parts that would typically be discarded goes into a bowl, so if some meaty parts happen to drop in, so be it.  I will put it to use. 

As mentioned above, I removed the bad parts of the tomato prior to the boiling process.  I am an impatient person so there may be times that I will not wait until the tomato completely cools.  Removing the bad spots prior to the boiling process, allows me to handle them quickly when they are hot.   


Above is the bowl of the "waste".  There is too much goodness to throw that down the drain/garbage/compost.  I have a a hand cranked food mill that I will use to separate the skins and seeds and to turn the larger meatier portions into juice.

I crank until the skins almost become pasty and nothing more drips from the mill.

When all is said and done, you will be left with some beautiful tomato juice that can be used throughout the year.  I also pressure cook the juice for 35 minutes at 10-11 lbs pressure at 1000 feet.

There you have it folks.  Enjoy!
10 Responses
  1. Erin Says:

    Great job! I'm doing sauce today!

  2. meemsnyc Says:

    Wow, that is awesome! 74 plants! I am so impressed! Do you have photos of your garden that show all the plants? I only grew about 15 plants this summer but not all of them survived. I need to re-organize my plantings next year so that it works better for the tomato plants.

    Great idea with saving the tomato juice!

    What are your favorite tomato varieties? I only grew a few types this year, but I want to branch out and see what other tomatoes taste like.

  3. I can't get over the 74 tomato plants. You make canning look so easy. I'll keep your post in mind, when next year maybe I'll tackle the canning process, given I have an over abundance of tomatoes. My garden is much smaller than yours must be.

  4. @Erin, thanks!

    @meemsnyc, I will post pictures tomorrow with a list of the plants I have growing. Honestly I didn't plan on the 74 tomato plants...just 30-40 so things are a little packed in. I have a problem when it comes to volunteers, I wont remove them. Some of them are 3-4 year repeats and all seem to be doing extremely well. I THOUGHT I had a perfect layout this year but the garden had other plans. It has taken me several years to figure out what works best...maybe next year. If I were to pick my favorite, I would choose Cherokee Purple for flavor. They are absolutly delicious. My husband even comments how good they are. I also like beef master for the size. Roma's are always a standard and if I remember right from reading your blog, you have those this year. I'm not sure what my 4th would be beyond that. I am growing several heirlooms beyond the cherokee purple but they haven't turned yet. I'm not a fan of cherries because we simply do not eat enough of them. They do make an incredible pasta sauce though if you don't mind spending the time to prepare them.

    @chars gardening, do you freeze your tomatoes? I usually become so tired of canning by the end of the season, the remaining ones end up in my freezer. The plot that I have at home is close to 50x10. I have a second plot that is about 25x50. However all of the tomatoes are at home.

  5. meemsnyc Says:

    Okay, I put Cherokee Purple on my list of things to grow next year. I've been keeping notes of what I want to try next season. I'm looking more for quality tomatoes, haha. Romas are great, but I frankly got tired of dealing with Blossom End Rot. I don't think I will grow them next year. We also grew Yellow Pear, but the plants never took off. They are still so small, so I got fed up with them.

  6. @meemsnyc, I have yellow pear this year as well and they are growing very well. Because I have so many cherry tomatoes, Iight not appreciate them as much as I should. They are similar in size.

  7. Dirt Lover Says:

    And I thought I had lots of tomato plants! I should let my hubby know there is someone with way more than me! I think I'll be trying Cherokee Purple next year. I'd like to try numerous different kinds of heirlooms, and one of them will definitely be on the top of the list. I love canning! Well, I think the best part is in the winter, and I open the pantry door, and see all the different things that I put up. Way cool.

  8. Lori do you have any tried and true canning recipes? There are so many out there I almost feel like I am playing trial and error.

    I can't say that I enjoy canning but like you, I enjoy going to my pantry during the winter to see the goods. That right there makes all of the hard work worth it.

  9. GardenMom Says:

    I just did my 3rd batch of sauce today...and my 2nd batch of tomato juice. I think I have about 7 pints of juice canned as of now. I was just letting that go down the drain before. Now I will be enjoying bloody marys all winter. ;)

  10. @GardenMom, yum bloody marys. Have you ever gone to the bloody mary bar at the Farmers Market in DM?

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