Canning Whole Tomatoes With Basil & Garlic

canning whole tomatoes with garlic and basil

Canning whole tomatoes with fresh garlic and basil brings a completely new concept to home canned tomatoes. 

Tomatoes is a versatile item, and in its own right, should receive the most real estate in the pantry.  They are a staple item to cook with, and if you play your cards right enough jars will be put-up to be enjoyed throughout the winter months. Canned whole tomatoes, and it’s related items, makes up 45% of the food we preserve yearly.

Because of this reason canning whole tomatoes is not the only method used to put-up this amazing fruit.  Tomatoes are preserved in a plethora of methods ~ canning the basic tomato, spaghetti and chili sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, and stewed tomatoes.

Let’s Begin Canning Whole Tomatoes!

For this project the Roma, or plum tomato, is an ideal choice.  It is a meatier tomato containing less seeds than any other varieties, making it perfect choice to work with.

First, begin by blanching and peeling the tomatoes.  Peeling tomatoes is a key factor in canning whole tomatoes, or any tomato for that matter.  The peels, if not removed, will leave behind a hard skin in the final product.  It is still edible, however, it’s not appealing in any way.


By placing an X on the blossom end of the fruit will help to remove the skin once it’s been blanched.

As a matter of fact, y’all should pick up a blanching basket.  Instead of working harder home preservers have the ability to work smarter.  And guess what?  Of course a blanching basket falls into the work smarter category. 

For the most part, the blanching time is roughly 1 to 3 minutes.  Exactly how long will depending on how ripe the fruit is.  Though it is not uncommon for ripe fruit to take 30 to 60 seconds in order to complete the blanching process.

canning whole tomatoes with garlic and basil
Blanch the tomatoes for roughly 1 minute. The skin will begin to crack making peeling quite easy

Ice Water Bath

Once the tomatoes have been blanched immediately submerged them into ice, or very cold, water. 

By doing so this will stop the cooking process and allows the skins to be removed easily.

Save the Peels

As long as you’re at it be sure to save the peels!  The goal for any homesteader, or food preserver, is to create a zero waste product.  Because of this reason the peels can be dehydrated and made into tomato powder. 

The tomato powder can be used in place of, or to enhance the flavor of, a dish which do not need the actual tomato.  For example, fritattas and omelets, or when making stew.

Filling Jars

Next, fill the jars by layering the tomatoes, garlic and basil.  Roughly 4 cloves of garlic and a few basil leaves are added to each jar. Remember to leave a 1 inch headspace when packing the jars. 

Once the jars are full, add 2 tablespoon of lemon juice per quart and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt,  I only like to add about a pinch of sea salt.

Packing the jars is quite easy to do. For a visual on how to fill jars and prepare them to be processed can be found on our YouTube Channel here. 

  1. The process is simple, as simple as it can get 
  2. Fill hot sterilized jars with whole tomatoes laying with basil and garlic
  3. Add lemon juice to increase acidity – 1 tablespoon pints, 2 tablespoons quart jars
  4. Fill jars with boiling water
  5. Remove air bubbles, adding additional boiled water if needed
  6. Wipe rim of jars with a clean cloth dipped in hot water or white vinegar
  7. Add lids and tighten rings to finger tight
  8. Process in a hot water bath or pressure canner

Again, a step by step visual on how to get ‘er done can be found on our YouTube channel.  

canning whole tomatoes with garlic and basil

Hot Water Bath (HWB) or Pressure Canning (PC)

The choice on whether to use a hot water bath or pressure canner when canning whole tomatoes is truly and honestly up to you.  Both methods can be used, it will simply depend on your comfort level. 

Regardless of whether you are using heirloom or hybrid tomatoes the acidity level will need to be increased.  This can easily be achieved by adding 1 tablespoon per pint jar or 2 tablespoons per quart.  Also, the acidity must be increased when using either a hot water bath or pressure canner.

When canning whole tomatoes the processing time is as follows (this is based on the altitude of 1,000 feet or less above sea level).  The processing time for those who live 1,001 feet above sea level can be found on the National Center For Home Food Preservation’s website. 

  • HWB pints 40 minutes, quarts 45 mins
  • PC pints 20 mins and quarts 25 mins

The correct PSI time for pressure canning whole tomatoes is 11 pounds per pressure. 

canning whole tomatoes with garlic and basil  

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    • The reward comes in the dead of winter, and that’s when I realize how much went into canning season!

  1. Hi!

    Great simple article, looks amazing! I’m new to the canning and food preservation world and was curious about your salt. You say you put in 1/2 teaspoon and then a pinch of sea salt….is that together or is the pinch of sea salt your preferred salt instead of the 1/2 teaspoon? Wasn’t sure if that was an “either/or” type of thing.

    Thanks again!!!

    • Yes, a pinch of sea salt is what I prefer over canning salt. Remember do not use iodine salt (table salt). I recently have stopped adding salt to our canned tomatoes, and prefer to season them when the jars are open.

  2. This looks amazing. Was curious as to how you use these tomatoes. What recipes do you use them in? Thank you!

  3. Are you by chance willing to share your salsa and bloody mary canning recipes? I am on the hunt for a good salsa recipe, and have not found one yet!…and I LOVE the idea of using the juice for bloody marys! Thanks! 🙂

    • For the salsa recipe, it’s the basic ingredients of tomatoes, cilantro, white onion, jalapeno pepper, pickling, sea, or kosher salt, lime juice and white vinegar; slow roasting for 6 hours. However, you can take any salsa recipe and make the Bloody Mary mix. Whatever fluid remains after your jars have been filled can that up (including the salsa remnants). Use an immersion blender to each needed jar prior to using. Enjoy it!


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