Cold Packed Tomatoes

Asked September 11, 2020, 1:33 PM EDT

Although I have been canning for a few years now, yesterday I cold packed for the first time. I canned chopped tomatoes in pint jars, adding both salt and lemon juice to each jar. I filled the jars to the top with the tomatoes, sealed and hot water bathed for 40 minutes. The tomatoes settled in the jar and did not produce enough juice to cover them and left about an inch of space between the top of the tomatoes and the lid. All jars sealed. Should these be safe for storing to be used at a later date?

Erie County New York

1 Response

It is definitely tomato canning season! Where did you find your recipe for canning the tomatoes? In order to have a safe canned product, we recommend only using safe, tested recipes. A great resource is the USDA Guide to Home Canning:

It sounds like you did not add any extra liquid (water or tomato juice ) to your canned tomatoes. Correct? Your recipe sounds somewhat similar to this one:

However, it doesn't sound like you pressed the tomatoes in the jar which is probably why you did have enough liquid to cover all of the tomatoes. That pressing release juices so there is enough liquid to cover the tomatoes and enough liquid to heat evenly.

Processing times are based on the type of liquid used to pack or fill the jar of tomatoes. Tomatoes without any liquid added, need to be processed for a much longer time than those with added water.

0 - 1,000 ft = 85 minutes
1,001 - 3,000 ft = 90 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 ft = 95 minutes
Above 6,000 ft = 100 minutes

I am concerned that the tomatoes are under-proccesed and would not be safe to consume.