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Country Kitchen

Canning Tomatoes: Whole, Sauce & Salsa!

August 21, 2022


Canning has always been a mainstay for country folk who enjoy living off the land and preparing for the months ahead. It’s also a great way for any family to save money and enjoy nutrient-rich food all year long. This week, we’re taking a look at how to prep and preserve all of those tomatoes that are ready for harvest in your garden.  

Follow Safety Directions

Oregon State University Extension Service and Washington State University Extension Service offer recipes and advice to keep you and your family safe, no matter what you’re canning. If you have questions, call OSU’s food safety and preservation hotline, open every summer through October at 1-800-354-7319.


Step 1: Blanch Your Tomatoes

The first step in canning your tomatoes, whether for stew or sauce, is to blanch them.



Get a large kettle of water up to a rolling boil and carefully place your tomatoes into the water for up to 1 minute or until the skin cracks. Be careful to avoid cooking them.


Then, quickly put them into an ice bath. This cools them down so you can pick them up and skin them.


The skins should come off easily.

Coastal tip: throw the tomato skins into your compost pile.  


Bigger tomatoes are perfect for stews, soups, and spaghetti when they’ve been properly canned. The smaller ones are ideal for sauce.


We’ve packed our larger tomatoes into jars and gotten them ready for canning. But first, we’re going to make our sauce and paste.

Step 2: Making Tomato Sauce and Paste

Using a Weston Deluxe Electric Tomato Strainer available at Coastal, we made short work out of sauce making.


The skinned tomatoes go into the funnel. The sauce then comes out of the bottom, and the leftover pieces end up in the side receptacle. We’re saving some of the sauce to make paste.

Coastal tip: To make tomato paste, simply boil some of your sauce until much of the water evaporates. This will turn it into a paste.

Want to turn your sauce into a family favorite? Add a few ingredients and simmer the mixture for a while before canning. Here’s what you’ll need.

Authentic Spaghetti Sauce

  • 12 ounces of tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions: Sauté your garlic and onion with olive oil. Then, mix in all of your ingredients and allow it to simmer for up to one hour to absorb all the flavors. Once it’s ready to go, put your sauce into jars and follow the directions to properly can your creation.


Extra Credit: Turn Your Tomatoes into Salsa

There’s nothing better than fresh salsa in the winter. Here’s the Coastal recipe.

Coastal Savory Salsa

  • 12 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 24 ounces tomato paste
  • 3 cups celery (chopped)
  • 3 cups onions (chopped)
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 cups bell peppers (chopped)
  • 4-5 jalapeño peppers (chopped, half with seeds and half with the seeds removed)
  • Lemon and lime juice to taste

Directions: Add the tomatoes, celery, onion, salt, sugar, mustard seed, cilantro, and apple cider vinegar to a large pan and boil for 10 minutes. Then add the bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and tomato paste and mix thoroughly.


Add lemon and lime juice for taste and pour the mixture into your Ball® canning jars.


The Canning Process

We packed each Ball® Canning Jar following directions from OSU Extension Service. Be sure to leave enough headspace. And don’t forget to add salt as well as 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid available at Coastal just before adding your lids.

Coastal is Your Canning Headquarters

Whether your garden is bursting at the seams and you’re ready to start canning what you grew, or you have some farmer’s market treasures you want to save for later, you’ll find all of your canning supplies at your West Coast-owned and operated Coastal. Check out our aisle of lids and bands, jars, pressure canners, citric acid additives, measuring devices, and everything else you need for a safe and fun canning experience.