Introduction: 10 Minute Pressure Canned Tomatoes

Picture of 10 Minute Pressure Canned Tomatoes

No pantry would be complete without home canned tomatoes :) I can "raw pack" and "stewed" for many future meals. If you think you don't need a pressure canner then canning tomatoes will make you change your mind. Processing them in a pressure canner for only ten minutes is so much nicer than 85 minutes in a hot water bath!

Step 1: Boiling Water

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Start out with lots of tomatoes. It doesn't matter if they have blemishes, marks, or whatever, most of them will be used. Wash them up but do get rid of any that are in really bad shape.
Drop them into boiling water for about 30 seconds or so. Small batches at a time.

Step 2: Ice Water

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Remove them from the boiling water and drop into cold ice water. This helps the skins peel right off.

Step 3: Time to Peel

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When you get a whole sink full it's time to slip the skins off.  Most times the bad parts will come right off with the skins, if not then simply cut out the bad areas.

Step 4: Core

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I then take a small cheapy knife and cut out the core. Check the bottom and remove it if it hasn't already slipped off with the skin.
Cut them into quarter size pieces. You can leave them whole, half, or whatever size you prefer.

Step 5: Headspace

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All jars should be filled leaving a 1 inch headspace, adjust if necessary.

Step 6: Lemon Juice

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Once all your jars are filled it's time to add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. This is a must because tomatoes are considered "low acid."

Step 7: Coarse Salt

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Add 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. The salt is optional but it does enhance the flavour.

Step 8: Tomato Juice

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Once I have all my jars filled with tomatoes I pour in canned tomato juice so my tomatoes don't end up looking watery. This is optional. Yes I could make my own juice but I find it much easier to buy the cans :) I used about 2 and a half cans for 24 quarts of tomatoes.

Step 9: Remove Air Bubbles and Clean Rims

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Take a plastic knife and run it around the inside of the jar to get rid of the air bubbles and pour in more tomato juice if necessary.
Wipe the rims with a hot paper towel until they are squeaky clean. Check for any stray seeds.

Step 10: Hot Lids

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Bring water to a boil in a pot, turn heat off and add as many lids as you need. After 10 minutes place on your clean jars, screw on bands (finger tight, do not over tighten!), and put them in your pressure canner.  Never place cold jars into boiling water (or vice versa) because they will break. Remember cold jars=cold water / hot jars=hot water, so add your water, then your jars, and then turn on the heat.

Tip:   After adding about two inches of water to my pressure canner I add a few glugs of vinegar because we have hard water and it keeps the white off the jars. Place lid on pressure canner.

Step 11: Processing

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Don't forget to vent your pressure canner. When the canner is up to pressure, process at 10 pounds for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat after ten minutes and wait 'until the pressure drops to zero before removing lid.  Remove jars, and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals, remove rings, wash in hot soapy water, and sit back to admire all the work you've done :)


JuliaD49 (author)2017-12-23

I just pressure canned 7 pints of tomatoes. 3 jars have a 1/2 inch of air at the top, and the other 4 have an inch of water at the base while the tomatoes are floating at the top. Is this normal for either situation?

justkyle (author)2017-09-19

I'm a little confused. my ball canning book never said anything about adding acid to tomatoes for water bath. does the lemon juice change the flavor?

CarinaC1 (author)2015-09-21

Thanks, this was great. I just finished my first time canning by myself, and with these instructions it was easy.

TimN5 (author)2015-08-12

Excellent coverage of this topic. Complete, simple, and concise. Thanks.

KarenM18 (author)2015-07-06

I used pint jars with my PC at 11 psi.......What timing do I use for quarts??

kansasa (author)KarenM182015-07-06

10 minutes.

sarahw2 (author)2014-10-12

o I see. seems too long of time to boil

sarahw2 (author)2014-10-12

I just boiled my tomato juice with lemon and sea salt, in one batch poured into jars /wiped edges and boiled , some jar lids popped and some are still popping as they cool down, did I do it right? . not sure about how long to boil the jars? and can I just freeze my jars ? never have frozen anything in glass before . doesn't really sound like a good idea I don't think.:)lol ???????

sharonm1 (author)2014-08-24

why did I process tomatoes with my old canner at 5 labs pressure for 10 minutes, and my new canner says 11lbs for 25 minutes? Seems like an awfully long time for whole tomatoes..

jewisonm (author)2014-05-25

I borrowed a pressure cooker last fall and tried it out, but it took over an hour for the water to get up to pressure. I was thinking it might be missing a part? Maybe a washer somewhere that is letting air escape? And yes, I had the weight. I did everything the same as you wrote in your post, except that the instructions said to fill water so they covered the jars by an inch. Could this be the problem? Thanks so much!

kansasa (author)jewisonm2014-05-25

You only need to cover jars by an inch if you are using a water bath canner NOT a pressure cooker/canner. Next time try only a couple of inches of water.

Darcy777 (author)2014-01-01

Pressure canning is for low acidic food so is the lemon juice required due to the 10 minute canning time? For those of you who have an aluminum rack for the jars to sit on, do not add acid to the water, it eats away at the aluminum.

kansasa (author)Darcy7772014-01-02

"Acid is added to tomato products even if the tomatoes are pressure canned." Quoted from page 2
I would think the amount of vinegar added to the water would minimally impact the rack and would take years to eat away the aluminum but ymmv. :)

puggirl415 (author)2013-10-19

Wow this only got 12 comments? This was a very concise and clear tutorial on an important topic. I got my friends started canning with tomatoes and right away they saw the limitations of the WB method. They started calling me and telling me they wanted to can the spaghetti sauce or borscht they made with the tomatoes. I had to disappoint them by telling them they couldn't do those foods in a WB.

I started canning in 2010 and after much research settled on the all-american pressure canner. I felt that waterbath canning was too limited for me as I prefer low acid foods in general compared to sweets and pickles. Plus you can also waterbath can in it. Sold! I pressure can everything from tomatoes to beef stock. I don't ever want to have to buy a gasket or wash one or fit one on my canner.

Canning tomatos right now: Put hot water in PC. Add jars and water partway and put to a boil with lid off. While the water boils and the jars heat, bring sauce to a simmer and in a seperate pot bring lids to a simmer. All this takes about 10-15 minutes. (3 jobs at once)
Take jars out of the canner. Fill with hot sauce, put in canner and screw down lid. Water is already simmering so the venting starts right away. 10 minutes to vent, 10 minutes to can. 10-15 minutes til the canner pressure is down to 0 naturally. So it takes 40-50 minutes from start to finish once your tomatoes are ready.

WB fill stockpot up with hot water and jars. Bring to a boil. (20 minutes or longer) Pull jars out and put in warm oven on a cookie sheet. Heat lids, Simmer sauce, put in jars and put in water bath. (10 min) Bring WB back to a rolling boil. (sorry but this can take another 10-20 minutes depending on how long it takes your sauce to heat up to boiling) Start timing only after the rolling boil is achieved. Boil for 45 minutes. That adds up to 95+ minutes or so. It is almost 2x as long. When you have several batches to do that really adds up.

kansasa (author)puggirl4152013-10-19

Darn, had a reply here but it disappeared! Will try again.
You think the same as me! I love the pressure cooker much better than the hwb. I even went and bought a steam canner and love it too! It uses about 2 inches of water so it's quick to boil, it's fantastic for sterilizing jars, and it's light to pack to the sink and back. There's controversy over it but so far I'm loving it along with my pressure canners. :)

amtrudell (author)2011-09-14

Using the lemon juice in the tomatoes to acidify them, you can process pints in 35 minutes, quarts in 45. What is not mentioned in this Instructable is that venting time (ten minutes after the water boils in your pressure canner) plus getting your canner up to pressure (another ten to fifteen minutes) plus letting the pressure go down (another 15 minutes or more) brings your real processing time to 45 minutes or more. I'm basing my times on using a gas stove; a neighbor with an electric stove found these additional times were even longer.

kansasa (author)amtrudell2011-09-14

But add quite a bit of time to bring your hot water bath canner which is filled to the brim with water to boil (1-2 inches over the jar lids), plus add the extra processing time, and don't forget the need to sterilize your jars, all this adds to the time. A pressure canner you only need about 2 inches of water so it comes to boil a lot quicker and eliminate the need to sterilize your jars due to the extra heat in a pressure canner thus saving more time. And yes I do mention venting the pressure canner.
I have canned tomatoes both ways and, in my opinion, it's much quicker to can in a pressure canner.

amartinez31 (author)kansasa2011-10-10

I tried canning tomatoes for the first time this past week. I use the water bath method and was please with the results. I am looking into the pro's and cons of using a pressure canner instead of the water bath method. I appreciate the dialog in your post, it has been helpful. Do you recommend a particular pressure canner? And if so, why?
I have read that some people prefer weighted pressure control rather than the pressure gauge types, due to have a higher incidence of issues and failures. Do you have an opinion regarding this?

amtrudell (author)amartinez312011-10-10

I have a Presto pressure canner. They've been making them for years and they are considerably cheaper than All American pressure canners. They are made of aluminum and consequently easier to handle than stainless steel ones. If you are only using it for canning rather than any pressure cooking, the aluminum will not pose a food issue (aluminum getting into food). They have a gauge which I prefer. I have found weighted pressure control to be a little more confusing, particularly if you are going from 10 lbs pressure (or 11 lbs, as now recommended by USDA) to 15 lbs pressure. A friend of mine got a weighted pressure control and it didn't work well. If you can, buddy up with someone in your area who does pressure canning and see what works for them. My friend ended up going to a gauge control. It is recommended that you have the gauge checked every few years (or maybe more frequently if you use it a lot) by your extension service to see that it is registering correctly. I run mine on a gas stove and my friend runs hers on an electric. What I like about a gauge is that you can readily see if you have too much pressure -- that causes over-venting and loss of liquid in your jars and as contents over-vent they can make a good seal on your jars impossible if food particles get between the sealing compound and your jar rim.

kansasa (author)amtrudell2011-10-10

I believe the Presto's have the rubber gasket and that's why I don't buy them. I've seen my MIL sit and wait for the gasket to come in so she could do canning as we don't live near a store where we can by them. The All American's are much more expensive but I think of it as more an investment because I know I will be passing them onto my daughter when she grows up. :)

amtrudell (author)kansasa2011-10-11

I live in Canada and all the Presto rubber parts are stocked in a hardware store I can walk to. However, I do most my preserving by water-bath canning, solar drying, fermentation, so I carefully store my Presto between uses. Every person has to look at their own situation before making an investment decision in domestic equipment.

kansasa (author)amtrudell2011-10-11

How true amtrudell, and in my situation I have to drive 2 hours one way to the nearest hardware store that might stock the Presto parts I would need... and I live in Canada too. :) I don't think it matters how a person stores their Presto between uses, it wears out even when not being used... and I think lack of use would probably dry it out faster than using it.
amartinez31 asked me what I use and asked why I use what I do (my situation) and I think the best thing a person can do is yes look at your own situation but asked lots of other people's opinions too because not one person has all the answers.

madmedix (author)kansasa2012-03-03

Your comment of "Wears out even when not being used" is absolutely true in all respects of hardware that uses rubber. Think of your car. The rubber timing belt is only good for five years whether the car is driven or not.  (if your engine has one: usually four cylinders: think Honda). Check your owner's manual for proof. The miles/Km vs time; always lean to the time. 
Helluva risk to cheap out on. Here, the pressure and heat could do severe
damage to human hands/arms. 
Thanks for detail on this instructable!

kansasa (author)amartinez312011-10-10

I so like my All American pressure canners and own 4 different sizes. I like them because there is no rubber gasket to wear out, although there is a small rubber plug that needs replacing every few years (I've replaced only one in one of my canners). Even buying a used All American you can get parts for it and when I bought a 2nd hand one from eBay I removed the petcock and replaced it with the weight. I like having both the weight and gauge. I can visually see what the pressure is and I can also hear the weight rattling when I'm away from my gas stove. I'm pretty sure you can buy almost every part the All American has on it and they hold up well after years of canning so you won't be buying parts too often. They are expensive but do a search at eBay and you'll find a few good deals, just watch for high shipping as they weigh a ton!

sunshiine (author)2011-08-21

This is super! Your pics are great! Thanks for sharing. I have never tried this method but I just might consider it next year.

I've never used a pressure canner in my life and wanted to know what is meant by "up to pressure"?

You must lockdown the lid and bring the pressure up inside the pressure canner by heating it to a certain temperature on the stove. My pressure canner has a gauge as well as a weight. Some canners only have one.  I turn the stove down when the gauge reaches 10 lbs and the weight starts to rattle, and then time from that point.

kansasa (author)sunshiine2011-08-21

Thanks sunshiine. :)

kevinhannan (author)2011-08-18

Spot on! I'll be doing this next year with some luck with my toms. Thx for sharing!

kansasa (author)kevinhannan2011-08-18

Great and good luck! :)

saffiertje (author)2011-08-18

Great tuto!!! Gonna try this, but does it also work without a preassure canner??? I do not have one. For jamming I always use a pan with watter...

kansasa (author)saffiertje2011-08-18

It does but you must increase the processing time to 85 minutes.

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