Canned Cherry Tomatoes

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Learn how to make canned cherry tomatoes and preserve the fresh flavor of summer for months to come.

I’ve got the answer to the annual “too many” cherry tomatoes conundrum!

Canned cherry tomatoes. They are delicious, versatile, and oh so easy to make.

This recipe will help preserve the incredible taste of cherry tomatoes long after the growing season ends. With two simple methods to choose from – raw pack or hot pack – you can create beautiful jars filled with the vibrant flavors of these petite tomatoes.

This canned cherry tomato recipe is dedicated to vibrance.

Canned cherry tomatoes in water.

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Tips


  • Store your ripe tomatoes in the fridge and avoid washing them until just before you’re ready to process. No, it won’t ruin them, it will actually help them last longer!
  • Don’t forget to adjust your processing time based on your elevation and jar choice. There are tables below to explain!
  • If you’re a tomato lover, you should check out my other tomato preservation methods!. I’ve got recipes for dehydrated cherry tomatoes, fermented salsa, fermented cherry tomatoes, and sun dried tomatoes, too!
Cherry tomatoes before canning.
Packed tomatoes before canning.

Raw Pack Vs Hot Pack

Raw packing the cherry tomatoes is a canning process where the water is brought to a boil, but the tomatoes are packed into the jar raw, and the jars are then filled with the heated water.

Hot packing is when the cherry tomatoes are brought to a boil along with the water, then the entire works are added to the jars in one step.

The raw pack method does not remove as much air from the cells of the fruit, so the tomatoes are more likely to float and cause your jars to look less full.

The hot pack method removes more air from the tomatoes before adding it to the jar causing the fruit to shrink slightly. The shrink factor allows you to fit more fruit per jar. Hot-packed tomatoes are less likely to float.

I generally raw pack my cherry tomatoes, I find it easier, and we’ve never had a problem with reduced quality based on the packing method.

Overhead view of canned cherry tomatoes.

Adding Acidity

There are 2 common ingredients that canners use to acidify their canned goods. Foods must have a pH of 4.6 or lower to be safely water bath canned.

Lemon Juice: Always use bottled lemon juice when canning, as opposed to fresh. Bottled lemon juice has a standard acidity, dictated by the FDA, while fresh lemons can have variable acidity – just like fresh tomatoes!

If you’re using lemon juice in this recipe, you’ll need to add 2 tablespoons per quart or 1 tablespoon per pint.

Citric Acid: Is a long lasting, white powdered canning additive perfect for acidifying tomatoes and salsas.

If you’re using citric acid, make sure to use 1/2 teaspoon per quart or 1/4 teaspoon per pint.

Vinegar: I’m including vinegar here because some canners use vinegar in their canned tomatoes – I don’t when I’m canning just tomatoes, but vinegar is a fantastic acidifier in salsas where the vinegar-y tang is masked by other ingredients.

Use vinegar at a rate of 4 tablespoons per quart or 2 tablespoons per pint.

Personally, I like to use lemon juice or citric acid to acidify when canning whole tomatoes in water. Regardless of which ingredient you use, make sure to use the correct amount!

More Ways To Preserve Tomatoes!

Key Ingredients

Tomatoes: Whenever possible, choose “just ripe” cherry tomatoes. Overly soft and ripe tomatoes are ok for the hot pack method, but will not stand up when raw packed. Under ripe tomatoes are harder as the pectin hasn’t begun to break down, and they can stand up to the canning process, but they lack the vibrant flavor that cherry tomatoes are known for.

Thicker skinned cherry tomato varieties like black cherry tend to hold up best when raw packing while thinner skinned cherry tomatoes are better for hot packing.

Acid: When canning tomatoes in water, you must acidify the liquid. The pH of individual tomatoes can vary widely, so it’s important to add a bit of acidity to the jar to ensure safe pH level. Lemon juice or citric acid may be used to acidify in this recipe.

Labeled ingredients photo.

How To Can Cherry Tomatoes:

Raw Pack:

  1. Wash and sterilize pint jars jars. Fill a large water bath canner with water and begin heating it over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, wash fresh cherry tomatoes. Set aside.
  3. Heat fresh water to a boil either using a kettle or in a large pot.
  4. While water is coming to a boil, prepare sterilized jars by placing them on a heat-proof surface.
  5. Pack the jars with tomatoes, leaving 1″ headspace, add either 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint jar.
  6. Fill the jars with hot water, leaving 1″ headspace. Wipe rims and cover with a lid. Tighten the rings finger tight.
  7. Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water bath and process at a rolling boil. See chart below for timing depending on elevation.
  8. Once done, remove jars from water bath canner using a jar lifter and place on a heat resistance surface and allow to rest untouched for 24 hours before checking seal and transferring to long term storage.

Hot Pack:

  1. Wash and sterilize pint jars. Fill a large water bath canner with water and begin heating it over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, wash cherry tomatoes. Then add to a saucepan with water; 1 cup of water per 5 cups of whole cherry tomatoes and bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Prepare sterilized jars by placing them on a heat-proof surface.
  4. Fill the jars with the heated cherry tomato mixture, leaving 1/2″ headspace and add either 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint jar.
  5. Wipe rims and cover with a lid. Tighten the rings finger tight.
  6. Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water bath and process at a rolling boil. See chart below for timing depending on elevation.
  7. Once done, remove jars from water bath canner using a jar lifter and place on a heat resistance surface and allow to rest untouched for 24 hours before checking seal and transferring to long term storage.

Processing Times

Your elevation plays a role in your canning!

Higher elevations have longer processing times to account for the lower boiling point of your water.

Water Bath Canning Time By Elevation :

Jar Size0-1,000 feet1,001 – 3,000 feet3,001 – 6,000 feet6,001 + Feet
Pint40 minutes45 minutes50 minutes55 minutes
Quart45 minutes50 minutes55 minutes 60 minutes
Table sourced from NCHFP Canning Tomatoes Packed In Water
Fresh tomatoes in front of canned cherry tomatoes.
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Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

My batch of approximately 2 lbs assorted cherry tomatoes yielded 3 pints of raw packed tomatoes. If you are hot packing, estimate that each pound will yield around 1 pint.

Storage:

Properly water-bathed tomatoes can be kept in a cool, dark place, for up to 18 months. While the lids may seal for longer, flavor, texture, and color can change in an undesirable way.

Even properly processed and stored foods can lose their quality over time, so it’s important to cycle the stock of your canned goods. The degradation occurs more quickly in temperatures above 70f or 21c.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Canned cherry tomatoes in water.

Canned Cherry Tomatoes

Allyson Letal
Looking a delicious way to preserve the vibrant flavors of your abundant cherry tomatoes? This easy canned cherry tomato recipe is a must-try!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Preserved
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 15 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs cherry tomatoes fresh
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice divided OR 1/2 teaspoon citric acid, divided

Instructions
 

raw pack:

  • Wash and sterilize pint jars jars. Fill a large water bath canner with water and begin heating it over high heat.
  • Meanwhile, wash fresh cherry tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Heat fresh water to a boil either using a kettle or in a large pot.
  • While water is coming to a boil, prepare sterilized jars by placing them on a heat-proof surface.
  • Pack the jars with tomatoes, leaving 1" headspace, add either 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint jar.
  • Fill the jars with hot water, leaving 1" headspace. Wipe rims and cover with a lid. Tighten the rings finger tight.
  • Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water bath and process at a rolling boil. See chart below for timing depending on elevation.
  • Once done, remove jars from water bath canner using a jar lifter and place on a heat resistance surface and allow to rest untouched for 24 hours before checking seal and transferring to long term storage.

hot pack:

  • Wash and sterilize pint jars. Fill a large water bath canner with water and begin heating it over high heat.
  • Meanwhile, wash cherry tomatoes. Then add to a saucepan with water; 1 cup of water per 5 cups of whole cherry tomatoes and bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Prepare sterilized jars by placing them on a heat-proof surface.
  • Fill the jars with the heated cherry tomato mixture, leaving 1/2" headspace and add either 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint jar.
  • Wipe rims and cover with a lid. Tighten the rings finger tight.
  • Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water bath and process at a rolling boil. See chart below for timing depending on elevation.
  • Once done, remove jars from water bath canner using a jar lifter and place on a heat resistance surface and allow to rest untouched for 24 hours before checking seal and transferring to long term storage.

Notes

processing times

Elevation / Processing Time PINTS
0-1,000 feet / 40 minutes
1,001 – 3,000 feet / 45 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 feet / 50 minutes
Elevation / Processing Time QUARTS
0-1,000 feet / 45 minutes
1,001 – 3,000 feet / 50 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 feet / 55 minutes
Processing times sourced from NCHFP CANNING TOMATOES PACKED IN WATER

storage

Properly water-bathed tomatoes can be kept in a cool, dark place, for up to 18 months. While the lids may seal for longer, flavor, texture, and color can change in an undesirable way.
Even properly processed and stored foods can lose their quality over time, so it's important to cycle the stock of your canned goods. The degradation occurs more quickly in temperatures above 70f or 21c.

yields

My batch of approximately 2 lbs assorted cherry tomatoes yielded 3 pints of raw packed tomatoes. If you are hot packing, estimate that each pound will yield around 1 pint.

adding acidity

There are 2 common ingredients that canners use to acidify their canned goods. Foods must have a PH OF 4.6 OR LOWER to be safely water bath canned.
Lemon Juice: You'll need to add 2 tablespoons per quart or 1 tablespoon per pint.
Citric Acid: Make sure to use 1/2 teaspoon per quart or 1/4 teaspoon per pint.
Vinegar: Use vinegar at a rate of 4 tablespoons per quart or 2 tablespoons per pint.

Recommended Equipment + Ingredients

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 15kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 170mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 370IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
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