Waterbath time for tomatoes

Asked August 21, 2020, 12:50 PM EDT

Ball Canning Book gives one time of 45 minutes for processing tomatoes and another of one hour and 25 minutes. Which is correct?

Lenawee County Michigan

3 Responses

They are both correct. You need to read recipes closely to see how they are done.
In the first recipe which is processed for only 45 minutes (Tomatoes Packed in Water), the directions have you either cooking the tomato or packing it in the jar with a hot liquid, thus lowering the processing time.
In the second recipe, (Tomatoes Packed in Their Own Juice) in the second paragraph it states when using the natural juice of the tomatoes as the liquid in the jar, cooking is not required. However, processing time is longer and must not be reduced. Hence the one hour and 25 minute process time.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a crushed tomato recipe, where the tomatoes are cooked for 5 minutes and then processed for just 45 minutes, in quart jars and 35 minutes in pint jars (I have some processing right now, they are my go to tomato recipe!) I've included the link to that recipe for you to review as well. https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_03/tomato_crushed.html
There are several ways to process tomatoes, please make sure to carefully read the recipe to make sure you are following all the steps including acidifying your tomatoes and of course processing them properly.
Wishing you safe preserving,

So if I heat the tomatoes (in their own juice) before putting them in the jar, I only need to process for 45 minutes?

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation: heat about 1 pound of the quartered tomatoes quickly in a large pot, crushing them with a wooden mallet or spoon as they are added to the pot. This will draw off some of the juice. Continue heating the tomatoes stirring to prevent burning. Once the tomatoes are boiling, gradually add remaining quartered tomatoes stirring constantly. These remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed. They will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added. Then boil gently 5 minutes. Add bottled lemon juice to hot jars (2 tablespoons per quart or 1 tablespoon per pint) Fill jars immediately with hot tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process. Pints 35 minutes Quarts 45 minutes.