How To Can Tomatoes Without a Pressure Cooker

Tomatoes are extremely simple to grow. There is very little that you can do wrong with this

Whether you are an experienced gardener with plenty of garden tools, a beginner just starting out or you fancy trying to grow some tomatoes indoors with a grow tent and some HID ballast.

How to can tomatoes without a pressure cooker

The first thing that springs to mind when you think of preserving fruit and veg is a pressure canner or pressure cooker. What if you don’t want that expense, though?

You’re in luck!

We will look today at how to can tomatoes without a pressure cooker. Using nothing but basic kitchen equipment, you can enjoy the wonderful taste of tomatoes year-round.

First thing’s first, though…

What Is a Pressure Canner?

pressure cooker

Source: Walmart

With water bath canning only really safe for fruits, many people choose to use a pressure canner so they can safely preserve their meat or vegetables without fear of bacteria.

This handy diagram shows you precisely how this innovative technology works…

using a pressure canner

Source: Pick Your Own

As you can see, a pressure canner is rather like an oversized steel or aluminum kettle. The lid twists on and off with gaskets.

The racks inside are easy to remove and there are safety vents and steam vents.

Sometimes, a dial gauge is used to show the pressure. Other models have a weighted gauge which will also cause the pressure canner to rattle.

Simply add water according to the directions and you can make sure all your cans are adequately pressurized fuss-free.

How To Can Tomatoes Without a Pressure Cooker

Since using a pressure canner is unnecessary when preserving tomatoes, it makes sense not to bother using one.

We will walk you through a simple alternative on how to can tomatoes without a pressure cooker using a water bath and some Mason jars.

canning tomatoes in water bath

Source: Freshly Preserved

What Will You Need?

Luckily, all you need is some very basic equipment.

  • Mason jars with properly fitting lids
  • 2 large stockpots
  • Funnel
  • 2 spoons (slotted and non-slotted)
  • Potholders
  • Tongs
  • Knives
  • Some towels
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

OK, once you’ve assembled these basics, it’s time to get started!

What To Do To

Before anything else, you’ll need to pick some tomatoes. You can use any fruit that’s past its best but steer clear of any rotten tomatoes. If there are any imperfections or cracks, just trim them away.

Next, follow these simple steps to enjoy a bountiful supply of organic tomatoes throughout the year.

  1. Grab yourself an apron and prepare a working area with all your equipment close to hand
  2. Thoroughly clean and sterilize all your jars and their lids
  3. Clean the tomatoes and place them near the oven
  4. Boil up some water in your stockpots. The purpose of this step is to split their skins after which you should pop them into a clean sink
  5. With a slotted spoon, pop 3 or 4 tomatoes into each pot. In less than a couple of minutes, the skins should tear apart. Set them aside as directed
  6. Repeat with remaining tomatoes then wash out both pots
  7. Peel the tomato skins then get rid of the cores and any bad or damaged spots. Chop them all up and throw into a clean pot. Add the pulp and juice if you fancy
  8. Bring the pot to the boil on top of your oven
  9. At the same time, bring some water to boil in another pan. Boil 3 jars and lids. It’s absolutely essential that the water is at boiling point to sterilize them fully and also to create a vacuum seal. Do not skimp on this step. Effectively, this stage replaces the need for pressure canning so take your time and get the job done right
  10. Grab a potholder and remove the jars one at a time once step 9 is complete. Using a funnel with a nice wide mouth, decant your tomatoes into the jars. Some mess here is almost inevitable so make sure you have some towels on hand
  11. When filling the jars, leave an inch or so of space at the top. Season to taste at this point with some good quality salt and black pepper. Pick out a lid with your tongs and use a towel to protect your hands as you pop the lid on your jar
  12. Listen for the reassuring sounds of the lids as they vacuum seal under their own heat. Watch for the buttons on the lids which will become sucked in. Most jars will seal like this in no more than 5 minutes

And that’s it!

Fill up those jars to your heart’s content and never need to rely on processed tomatoes again when you can stock up plentifully on the fruits of your own labor.

Important Note

Very rarely, the seal might not take causing the tomatoes to rot. Obviously, if this happens simply throw the rogue jar in the trash.

Fortunately, there’s an initial test you can perform to minimize the chance of this happening. Leave your canned tomatoes out on the counter overnight. The next day, if you remove the ring from the jar and try to remove the lid, it won’t be possible if the vacuum seal has taken effect properly. This is not a failsafe method but it certainly reduces the likelihood of spoiled produce.

Handy Hint

How about all the tomato skins and cores that you accumulated?

They’ll make perfect compost! Enjoy fertilizing your garden the natural way!


We hope you’ve found this look at how to can tomatoes without a pressure cooker useful when it comes to making the very most of your supply of this delicious fruit.

Once you experience the taste of food grown organically in your own backyard, it’s tough to return to store-bought produce! Not only can you control exactly how your fruit and veg is grown but you can save a great deal of money as well.

Please feel free to share this article on your social media. As always, drop us a line if you would like any help with any aspect of gardening. We try to respond as swiftly as possible and we’re always more than happy to help.

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