nonno knows how to can

Nonno Knows How to Can Tomatoes Quickly and Easily!

How to Can tomatoes Quick and Easy the way that Nonno does it!

This is Nonno`s simple and easy way to Can tomatoes.
When  tomatoes are in full season is the prime time to Can them so that you can enjoy their great taste all year round – tomatoes in most locations, can be found all year round.

Nonno`s method uses natural ingredients with no additives only salt as the preservative. This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to Can tomatoes and you do not need a pressure canner.
Using this method, you keep their wonderful flavor fresh for a long time. When you open a jar, months from now, you will think that the tomatoes were just freshly picked!
roma tomatoes the best for canning
Ripe beautiful Roma tomatoes!
Nonno`s favorite tomatoes are locally grown Roma tomatoes. You can pick your own, pick them up at your local farmers market or even buy them in bulk from your local grocer in ½ or in whole bushels.
A bushel of tomatoes will make between 16 to 24 jars (24oz Mason type jars).  At current bulk tomato prices, that works out to a cost of between $0.50 to just over a $1 per jar.
Nonno doesn’t give you credit for your labor, lol. It is a labor of love for good, tasty, fine, natural food.

What you need to Can 1 bushel of tomatoes quick & easy like Nonno does it:

Nonno does this outside (canning tomatoes can be a bit messy) or in the garage if it is too hot, too windy or if it is raining. In good weather, he does it under the shade of the grapes of the Pergola in Big Nonno`s backyard.
1. A large table (a picnic table covered with a clean tablecloth is perfect).
2. Two dozen glass Bernardin Mason-type jars, 24 oz size is ideal and the Bernardin Canning Jar Lids with Bands to cover the jars.
3. One bushel of tomatoes (depending on yield, you will need 2 cases of twelve (24 oz. Glass Mason type jars) for each bushel of tomatoes.
4. 500-gram box of fine granulated table Salt.
5. A large bunch of Fresh basil *(Optional, Nanna likes adding the fresh basil when she opens the jars to use the tomatoes to cook them. She keeps a pot of basil growing all year-round in the kitchen).
6. A big deep pot (stock pot or canning pot if you have one) for boiling water that holds 6 or more 24 oz Glass Mason-type jars.

7. A sharp knife

8. A wooden ladle small enough to fit inside the opening of the glass jars.
9. Jar lifter or Tongs large enough to go around the rim of the neck of 24 oz Glass Mason type jars to place them in and take them out of the water.

 10. A large bowl to place under the jar for the filling process (so that you can save any of the tomatoes or juices that spill out).

11. Indoors, you will need a stove top (a big enough burner to hold the big boiling pot with at least 6 of the jars).
11a. Outdoors is preferable, the ideal is a propane or a natural gas burner (big enough to heat the big boiling pot and at least 6 mason type jars).

How to can tomatoes quick and easy like Nonno does it:

1. Sterilize the mason jars and lids (cycle through the dishwasher if you have one, otherwise wash them thoroughly in hot water and dry them.
2. Fill the large pot about 1/3 full and place it on the burner to start heating up.
3. Thoroughly wash the tomatoes and lay them out on the large table or place them back in the bushel boxes (make sure the boxes are clean and dry (Nonno uses big clean laundry tubs).
4. Take the 24 oz. glass jar and place 1 teaspoon of salt in the jar.
5. Place two leaves of basil on top of the salt in the jar *(Optional as stated in point 4. above).
6. Cut the stems and any blemishes off of the tomatoes and quarter them. Place them in the jar.
7. As you add tomatoes use the wooden ladle to press the tomatoes down. *(It is very important that you leave no air pockets – do not be afraid to mash them down and crush the tomatoes).
8. Leave about an inch from the top of the jar.
9. Drop in another basil leaf. (Optional).
10. Wipe clean the neck of the jar (very important the lid has a clean surface for a proper seal. and tighten.
11. As you fill the jars, place them using the tongs into the large pot.
12. When you place the 6th jar in the pot, ensure the water is about 1 inch higher than the top of the jar. If it is not, add hot water from the hot water tap to cover over top of the jars.
13. Bring the jars to a boil and let them boil for at least 30 minutes.
14. Turn off the burner to stop the boiling, use the tongs to carefully and safely remove the jars one by one.
15. Place the jars on a flat table and let cool down.
16. Once all the jars are cooled down, store them in your cold cellar or pantry.
(Nonno leaves them overnight and then checks to make sure that they have all properly sealed before moving them to storage).
Chill and wait for morning to put the canned tomatoes away in the cantina or pantry
A well-deserved rest after the hard work of canning!
You now have fresh canned tomatoes that you can use for many, many different dishes, whole, diced, or you can puree them.
These canned tomatoes can be used to make a delicious tomatoes sauce that you can add meat, vegetables, and spices for making lasagna, ravioli, your other favorite pasta dishes, stuffed peppers covered in tomatoes sauce, salsa, veal covered in tomato sauce … Geez, I am getting hungry just thinking about how delicious these dishes will be!
make many tomato based italian dishes with the canned tomatoes all year long
Awesome sauce for pasta!
We would love to hear your feedback and comments.


6 thoughts on “Nonno Knows How to Can Tomatoes Quickly and Easily!

  1. How wonderful post and you are absolutely right nonno knows how to can tomatoes! I know it well because my father in law has vegetable garden where he grows tomatoes and then cans them every year with the help of whole family. Your description about caning tomatoes was almost exactly the same as how we do it and we live in Italy:) And where are you from, if I may ask?

    All the best!

    1. Hi Maria, 

      Thank you for visiting and for your feedback.  

      Great Question, seems that the way we live, eat and prepare our food is a pretty good indicator of our roots. It sounds like food is a family affair for you too. 

      You can certainly ask where I am from – I was actually born in Lens, France, but to Calabrese parents (from Cleto and Petramale, Cosensa, Italy. They immigrated to Canada 50 years+ ago but made sure that we kept those Calabrese family, food and living traditions alive. I am thankful and grateful that they did. 

      May I ask where in Italy you live?



  2. Great post, I’ve canned my own pickles in the past but it never dawned on me that you can preserve and can tomatoes when they are fresh at the peak of the season.

    I really like your Nonnos knows best theme, Being married to an Italian woman, I can identify with Italian traditions and culture and you have a great way of delivering the message of “family.

    1. Thank you Richard for visiting and for the positive feedback. 

      Would love to hear your method for canning pickles.  We have done them in the past, but not with much success. 

      We have tried many ways to preserve tomatoes over the years.  We settled on Nonno’s method and I may be biased, but it seems to lock in the taste best and saves time over those other methods..  

      We used steam them, grind them down and remove the seed then can the sauce, which was more time consuming and a whole lot more work. We also tried peeling and steaming them and then canning (that takes too long, too). Nonno’s simple method locks in the flavor and is pretty efficient. 

      We immigrated to Canada over 50 years ago from southern Italy (Calabria) and am grateful to be able to carry on the Italian family traditions. Very perceptive of you to pick up on the underlying “famaglia” theme of the site. 

      Say Ciao to your Italian wife. If I may ask, what part of Italy is she from? 

      best regards,


      1. Hello Claudio,

        My Wife was actually born in Jersey City,New Jersey but her mother’s family is from Naples and her father was born in Bitonto, Bari and came to New York in 1969. I will definitely pass along your Nonno’s canned tomatoes recipe to my wife and mother-in-law and I’m sure they would be delighted to make it.

        As far as pickles go, i use the refrigerator pickle technique which does not require any cooking or heating of vinegar. You just combine all your ingredients (pickling cucumbers, pickling salt, white vinegar/apple cider vinegar, garlic cloves, fresh dill, and any other spices you may like) and store them in a good mason jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.

        Keep up the family traditions and happy writing!

        Richard aka The “Golf Fiend”

        1. Interesting, your wife`s parents are from opposite sides of Italy, both are beautiful parts of the country.

          Thank you for passing on our canning method and for sharing the pickling method. I will certainly try the pickling method, sounds really good.

          All the best to the Golf Friend, Richard.

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