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Bottled Stewed Tomatoes

Prep Time:

30 minutes

Cook Time:

45+ minutes


21 quarts



About the Recipe


  • 1 bushel *fresh picked tomatoes**

  • Lemon juice OR citric acid

  • Canning salt


  1. Prepare a large pot of boiling water and a sink or large pot of cold water (preferably with ice floating).

  2. Dip the ripe tomatoes in the hot water for about 30 seconds, or until the skin splits.

  3. Immediately remove the tomatoes and submerge in the cold water to stop the cooking and help release the skin.

  4. Remove the core and the skin, cut in half and place directly into the clean quart bottle. Keep adding the tomatoes until the bottle is completely filled. You can squash them into the bottle to make sure it is completely full with a ½ inch air space at the top.

  5. Run a wooden spoon or chopstick around the tomatoes to release any air pockets.

  6. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (or ½ teaspoon citric acid) to each quart.

  7. Add 1 teaspoon canning salt. (You can use regular salt, but there will be a white residue. It doesn’t change the taste or result.)

  8. Wipe jar tops clean with a clean rag (some people use vinegar to wipe, I don’t) and put sealing lid*** on jar. Make sure that the bottle doesn’t have any chips on the top or it won’t seal. Screw ring on evenly and firmly, but don’t overtighten.

  9. Place sealed jars in a water bath pot with a rack in hot (but not boiling) water. Lower the rack and cover the bottles with about 1-2 inches of water above the jars.

  10. Put lid on the pot and bring water to a boil.

  11. After it comes to a boil, process quarts for 45 minutes**** (depending on your altitude, see note below). Keep on a gentle, but steady boil.

  12. After the bottles have finished processing, remove from the pot and place on a cloth surface about an inch from each other, and let cool. Do not disturb the bottles until they are completely cooled.

  13. After jars are cooled, wash them off in warm water and carefully remove the lid bands.

  14. Test the seals. Store the bottled stewed tomatoes in your pantry. They will look lovely.

If one of the bottles doesn’t seal, remove the lid, clean the top, and replace it with a new lid, and reprocess. Or just make tomato soup or spaghetti sauce. My grandpa liked eating stewed tomatoes with toast.

*Depending on the size and type of tomato, one bushel of tomatoes is about 53+/- pounds and you will be able to get anywhere between 15-21 quarts.

**My tomato preference to bottle is Early Girl or Better Boy because they can both be used for a variety of fresh recipes also, they are meaty and not too watery, and they are both easy to grow. They are also easy to handle when bottling. You choose your favorite tomato. I have yet to taste a bad bottled tomato.

***To prepare the sealing lid, pre-simmer in hot water so that the seal is warm when you put it on the quart jar. It will help create a better seal.

****The water bath processing time noted above is for altitudes under 1,000 feet above sea level. You will need to increase your processing time according to your elevation. I’m at 5,400 feet and so I process mine for 55 minutes.

To find your elevation, go to

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