Aussies Living Simply

Preserving tomatos

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    Hello all,

    I’m new toi this preserving world and I need some advice!

    If I wanted to preserve some tomatos, just as diced tomatoes (like what you get in a can) would I need to add any extra acidity to my tomatos?

    Or could I just boil them up and then seal them in jars?

    Thanks in advance!


    Lady BeeLady Bee

    All the current literature recommend adding either bottled lemon juice or citric acid to tomatoes when preserving. The reason for this is that the acidity of tomatoes varies depending on variety and environmental factors, that’s also the reason why the recommend bottled lemon juice – consistent acidity – while home grown lemons can vary.

    You don’t need to boil them first – I never do – just chop them, pack your jars, add your lemon juice or citric acid, seal and process in your preserver.



    We cooked ours up – some with oregano, some with garlic, some with basil and some we slow roasted in the oven and then added to the boiled lot.

    All were cooled and placed in containers and frozen so we have a stack of tomatoes of all different flavours to add to pasta sauces and soups.




    for $30 you can get a pH meter from DSE. Acidity needs to be below 4.2-2.7 (depending on what source you read (on what day))

    We aim for 4.2 or less and have had no problems, then again all toms are consumed within 6-8 months (ready for the fresh stuff)


    A the moment I an drying some tomatoes then plan to put them in jars with olive oil, don’t know how well it will work though.

    Lady BeeLady Bee

    Ballamara, I follow a snippet from the Fowlers preserving book which says to dip the dried tomatoes into vinegar, then into jars, top with olive oil and STORE IN THE FRIDGE.

    The oil solidifies so you have to take them out a while before you want to use them to let the oil liquify again. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pack them into small jars.


    I follow the instructions in my old Fowler’s book every year and I have only ever had one failure… one lid that didn’t seal properly and the tomatoes got a mould on top… as if they had been left out in the kitchen for too long.

    I peel them and pack bottles, any that are broken or a bit wierd are chopped up and jars are filled with a very weak brine (half an ounce per litre of water.)

    I put the lids on and process them carefully. Bring them slowly to 200F… taking an hour to do so (so taht I don’t lose liquid from the jars.) Keep them at 200F for 15 minutes and then remove them from the heat. (This is tricky as I have a wood stove.) Then let them stand in the water for another hour before removing them. to cool.

    I also make tomato paste by blending any dodgy ones and boiling them until they are about one-third of the volume. (I don’t worry too much about a few seeds either, so my tomato paste has a slightly different texture, but tastes good.) I process this in smaller Fowler’s jars at 200F for two hours.

    My Fowler’s book (Nineteenth Revised Edition, early 1950’s) came from a second hand shop ($4) some years ago, and it originally sold for 8/6 (including postage and sales tax) though you had to send the serial number on the steriliser, as the book would not be supplied to anyone who did not have a Vacola Outfit.

    The book is useful as it gives “troubleshooting” information in a section called “A few incidents which may occur when bottling fruit with our outfits.”

    There are also instructions for bottling fruit with low or no sugar… all good.


    Thanks for the info lady B, i will do that


    Thank you all so much!!

    I think tomato paste is next, and then diced toms…

    My Aunty has a FV set that I can borrow (with jars with lids that I can have!!) so i’ll take her up on that offer!

    Very interesting on the bottled lemon juice. I would have naturally avioded using it, but it makes sense. Although I’ll probably go with citric acid…

    Thanks all!

    Lady BeeLady Bee

    Tip for tomato paste. If you have a slow cooker, once you’ve done all the preliminary boiling, sieving etc., put it in a slow cooker with the lid off. Don’t need to watch it like a hawk in case it burns.

    I never peel tomatoes – can’t be bothered.


    Thanks Lady B. I had read that somewhere else on here (possibly your tip for someone else!) and I am also to lazy to peel… It will be more authentic if there is bits of skin I say!

    Do you add anything to the mix when you jar? Citric Acid/lemon juice? Or does it keep OK?

    Lady BeeLady Bee

    I usually add salt, but sometimes I forget. I then put them through the preserving process. Keep fine, providing the jars have sealed properly.

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