Bottling Tomatoes using the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes with the Water Bath Method: Bottled Garden Tomatoes Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes with the Water Bath Method: Bottled Garden Tomatoes Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes using the Water Bath Method:

Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Bottled Garden Tomatoes

Bottled Garden Tomatoes

Not so many years ago, and as recently as when my mum and dad were growing up, we were a nation of “bottlers”; we would not think twice about preserving the summer bounty of fruit and vegetables from our gardens, allotments and with all of the produce that neighbours, friends and family might have given us. My parents remember their parents, my grandparents, bottling and preserving every year, and the most popular bottled ingredient was tomatoes. Nowadays we are more likely to reach for a “tin of tomatoes” in the supermarket, but, if you DO have access to home-grown tomatoes, then this is the way to preserve them for the winter, and it’s a really easy method that has served our parents and grandparents before them for years and years. Bottling was not just popular for “country folk” either; my paternal grandmother lived on the outskirts of London and was a keen preserver……my grandfather did have a small garden, but most of the their neighbours had allotments if they didn’t have gardens – so there was always a “glut” of something throughout the year to preserve. Bottling and preserving was very popular (and indeed encouraged) throughout the wartime years too, as people tried to save what they had for the harsh winters ahead.

Bottling Tomatoes with the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Processed tomatoes, waiting to cool before storing for the winter

It doesn’t matter now often you use your tomatoes in cooking and for salads etc, there always seems to be an excess of them, and this simple water bath method of preserving them is a great way to save them for the winter months ahead. Not only that, but if you don’t grow your own, then look out for cheap end of season bargains, where cases of tomatoes can be picked up for not much money, especially at the end of the day at farm shops and markets. I love this water bath method of bottling, and bottle all manner of things this way, such as onions, peppers, cherries, apples, pears, plums and also potted meats and fish – more recipes for those to follow soon, as well as recipes for pates, terrines, rillettes and pie mixes too .

beefsteak tomatoes

Beefsteak tomatoes

I have had kilos and kilos of tomatoes this year, both from the garden as well as from my neighbour’s allotments and the local farmer’s markets; they have kept on coming and we have eaten them every day, in salads and cooked recipes. But there finally comes a time when you need to think about preserving them, and with a newly acquired toy on the “batterie de cuisine” front, namely an electric steriliser, I decided to bottle (or can, as our North American cousins say) the main glut of our tomatoes. I have always lusted after one of these, as they take so much of the oven and water bath hassle out of safe preserving, and my new steriliser has a nifty little “set temperature” and “set time” function, so you can walk away once the bottles are immersed and cooking. NOTE: You can use this water bath method on the hob top (with a thermometer) and in the oven, as my grandparents used to do when they preserved this way. 

An electric water bath

An electric water bath

I am sharing a simple recipe for Bottled Garden Tomatoes today, but, I will be adding variations on this recipe on Lavender and Lovage over the next few weeks, so you can see what else can be done with the basic bottled tomato recipe. This recipe calls for any glut of garden tomatoes you have available, but I have bottled beefsteak tomatoes, tomatoes en grappes, plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes very successfully with this method. The main thing to remember when embarking on a project such as this is to be well prepped; you need several jars that have been washed and sterilised, as well as lemon juice, sea salt and sugar to hand. You also need to make sure that you have enough rubber sealing rings, if you are using the Kilner or Le Parfait method of bottling. There are also the jars that have screw top lids with separate seal caps; you must make sure you have enough of the separate seal caps. (This method uses the Familia Wiss Jars) Make sure your work area has bowls to tomato skins, and plenty of chopping boards to cut the tomatoes. I hope that this recipe will prove useful, as a basic method, for those of you whom have a “surfeit of tomatoes”, and if using the oven or water bath method on the stove top, please remember to make sure you have a reliable thermometer handy.

Bottling Tomatoes with the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes with the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

I will share the step-by-step method with images below and then share the printable recipe at the end of the post……so, you can choose how to follow the method. I hope this step-by-step tutorial will help if you embark on a bottling project yourself – when I came to look for recipes for this method on-line recently, I discovered a lack of anything that was helpful……so, I have developed my own recipes and methods, that have been triple tested already! That’s all for today, I will leave you with my bottled tomatoes recipe and method, and see you soon,Karen 

Bottled Garden Tomatoes

Recipe: Bottled Garden Tomatoes

Ingredients:

Tomatoes

Lemon Juice

Caster Sugar

Sea salt

Clean jars with appropriate sealing rings or screw caps

Method:

Have a large bowl handy and a kettle for boiling water.

Skinning and peeling the tomatoes

Skinning and peeling the tomatoes

Score the bottoms of the tomatoes with a knife into a cross shape and then in small batches, put the tomatoes into the bowl and pour over boiling water. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the water for 2 minutes, then pour the water away and skin the tomatoes, peeling them where the cross was cut into the base.

Cutting the tomatoes

Cutting the tomatoes

Discard the skins and then chop finely, for chopped tomatoes, or cut into quarters. You can also bottle the tomatoes whole if you wish.

Salt and lemon juice

Add the sea salt and lemon juice to each jar

Put 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of caster sugar in the bottom of a 0.5 litre jar. (Use less lemon juice, salt and sugar if using smaller jars, or more for larger jars)

Pack the tomatoes in to the jars

Pack the tomatoes in to the jars

Pack the tomatoes in tightly, leaving a 2.5cm (1”) gap at the top, so the tomatoes and juice does not seep out during preserving.

Add some tomato purée with the water if the tomatoes are not very red

Add some tomato purée with the water if the tomatoes are not very red

If your tomatoes are not very red, you can mix a tablespoon of tomato purée with boiling water and pour some into the packed jars.

Seal the jars and clip them down, if using the rubber sealing method.

Seal the jars and clip them down, if using the rubber sealing method.

Seal the jars and clip them down, if using the rubber sealing method, and place them into the steriliser.

submerged in the water bath

Jars submerged in the water bath

Fill the steriliser with water (to the correct level), turn it on and set the temperature for 100C (200F) and the processing time for 45 minutes. Process for the correct time and leave to cool in the water until the water is cold. Check the seals to make sure they have formed a vacuum; if any jars are not sealed, process again.

taking out of the water bath

Taking out of the water bath

Please note, if using a large saucepan or the oven bath method for this recipe, the same time and temperature applies.

Cooked and processed tomatoes

Cooked and processed tomatoes

Tomatoes preserved this way will keep for up to 2 years or more, in a cool, dark and dry place.

Variations: Herbs and Spices can bee added before processing: 

Ready to seal with fresh herbs added

Ready to seal with fresh herbs added

adding smoked paprika

Adding smoked paprika

Printable Recipe:

Bottled Garden Tomatoes

Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 45 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Soup
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
This bottled tomato recipe calls for any glut of garden tomatoes you have available - I have bottled beefsteak tomatoes, tomatoes en grappes, plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes successfully with this method.

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon Juice
  • Caster Sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Seasonings and herbs of your choice
  • Clean jars with appropriate sealing rings or screw caps

Note

This bottled tomato recipe calls for any glut of garden tomatoes you have available - I have bottled beefsteak tomatoes, tomatoes en grappes, plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes successfully with this method.

Directions

Step 1 Have a large bowl handy and a kettle for boiling water.
Step 2 Score the bottoms of the tomatoes with a knife into a cross shape and then in small batches, put the tomatoes into the bowl and pour over boiling water. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the water for 2 minutes, then pour the water away and skin the tomatoes, peeling them where the cross was cut into the base. Discard the skins and then chop finely, for chopped tomatoes, or cut into quarters. You can also bottle the tomatoes whole if you wish.
Step 3 Put 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of caster sugar in the bottom of a 0.5 litre jar. (Use less lemon juice, salt and sugar if using smaller jars, or more for larger jars)
Step 4 Pack the tomatoes in tightly, leaving a 2.5cm (1”) gap at the top, so the tomatoes and juice does not seep out during preserving. Add sprigs of herbs at this stage along with any seasonings you are using such as chilli pepper, smoked paprika, garlic granules etc.
Step 5 If your tomatoes are not very red, you can mix a tablespoon of tomato purée with boiling water and pour some into the packed jars.
Step 6 Seal the jars and clip them down, if using the rubber sealing method, and place them into the steriliser. Fill the steriliser with water (to the correct level), turn it on and set the temperature for 100C (200F) and the processing time for 45 minutes. Process for the correct time and leave to cool in the water until the water is cold. Check the seals to make sure they have formed a vacuum; if any jars are not sealed, process again.
Step 7 Please note, if using a large saucepan or the oven bath method for this recipe, the same time and temperature applies.
Step 8 Tomatoes preserved this way will keep for up to 2 years or more, in a cool, dark and dry place.

Bottling Tomatoes using the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes using the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes using the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

Bottling Tomatoes using the Water Bath Method: Step-by-Step Tutorial with Images & Recipe

I am adding this recipe to October’s Cooking with Herbs, as I have used GREEK BASIL in some of these jars! 

Cooking with Herbs

Comments

  1. says

    What a helpful post! Great idea too. Not only is it all natural and seasonal, but tinned tomatoes are so expensive these days ! Lovely idea that I hope lots of people will adopt x

  2. says

    I’m green with envy. That sterilizer is gorgeous. I was confused for years by the American insistence on calling this method of preserving, canning. To me that implied Corned Beef and such like!

    Those tomatoes will stand you in good stead this winter and are not dependent of freezer space or the electricity supply.

    • says

      Thanks Pat – the machine was really not that expensive – about £60 and it is so precise too, with a timer and thermostat for precise temperatures.

    • says

      Thanks Anneli – if you are well prepped with the tomatoes in a sink etc, it’s not so bad, but I do agree, peeling tomatoes is not one of my favourite tasks either!

  3. says

    Thank you for an easy to follow bottling process. I’m going to substitute tomatoes with persimmons as I have a mature persimmon tree in my garden and I would have a fresh supply of it.

    • says

      GREAT idea Jessica, and I bet the bottled persimmons will be wonderful done this way, as they have the same texture as tomatoes – maybe add some vanilla pods and sugar too? Just a tablespoon of sugar with the lemon juice and a vanilla pod would be wonderful! Karen

  4. Maya Russell says

    I’ll come back to this post next year! Thank you so much. I never knew how to bottle tomatoes. Shared with G+.

  5. Jeanne Ryan says

    Thank you for this recipe which is really easy to follow. I tried it today with a glut of beef tomatoes and home made tomato juice. Good website!

  6. Ben says

    Great recipe, easy to follow and great photo’s. Having moved to the Czech Republic and got a taste of living ‘The Good Life’ with my own little Felicity Kendall in the garden I have now developed a knack for stocking up for winter, this is something the Czechs living in the countryside do every year and pass down (not just the country I may add). They have their own methods and techniques, so we bottled our tom’s today, my partner using her mothers recipe and I followed yours, time will tell on taste but I am very pleased with my results. So thank you, now onto drying out our fresh forest mushrooms, picked this morning.

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