Storing for later – preserving tomatoes

It is tomato harvesting time and markets are flooded with tomatoes. Tomatoes are fruit that can be preserved very easily and cheaply for later use. Preserving tomatoes provides a way to add value to your product and enables you to provide a product to the market outside of harvesting season.

These recipes were translated and adapted from Lekker vir later PLUS, written by Annette Human and published by Human and Rousseau.


Use stainless steel or enamel pots for the water bath and for cooking your ingredients.

For these recipes you need some glass jars, like old mayonnaise jars (with undamaged lids) with sealable lids, or mason jars.

Wash and sterilise your canning/preservation jars en let them dry completely. Remember to cool down glass jars when you pour cold contents in, and to warm up your container before putting warm content in. This will prevent the glass from cracking.

How to peel tomatoes:

  • Wash the tomatoes to get rid of any pesticide residue.
  • Use a sharp knife and cut a small cross at the blossom of each tomato.
  • Dip the tomato in a bowl filled with boiling water and count to 20, or when you see the tomato skin starting to pull away at the incision. Use a ladle or strainer to remove the tomatoes, but remember the water is still very hot.
  • If the tomatoes remain in the hot water for too long, your tomatoes might become soft.
  • Peel the tomatoes gently.

Useful information

Remember to label the jars with the date of preservation.

Always use the bottle with the oldest date first.

Don’t ever taste the contents of a preserved jar if the contents have a funny smell or show any form of spoil. Throw it away and don’t even feed it to your animals.

It is harvesting time for tomatoes and there is an abundance of tomatoes. By preserving tomatoes now, you can have easy access in the off season.


These recipes are very cheap and are easy ways to extend the life of your tomatoes. It will allow you to add some tomato flavour to your food throughout the whole year.

Remember the tomatoes should be very ripe, but not overly so. Overripe tomatoes don’t contain enough acid and can easily spoil after preservation.
If you do use overripe tomatoes, add 12,5 ml of brown vinegar for every 500 ml of tomatoes.


Volume  glass jar 1 litre 750 ml 500 ml 400 ml
Salt 5ml 4 ml 2,5 ml 2 ml
Sugar 5ml 4ml 2,5 ml 2 ml
Vinegar 5ml 4ml 2,5 ml 2 ml
  • Peel your tomatoes.
  • Keep the small tomatoes whole and cut bigger tomatoes into halves or quarters. Remove all scars and bruises from the fruit with a paring knife.
  • Arrange the tomatoes, without breaking them, into 1 litre glass jars en press the tomatoes into the jars until it is completely filled – do NOT add water.
  • Add 5 ml each of salt, white sugar and brown vinegar to every jar.
  • Seal the jars. If using a mason jar, turn the metal rings loose with half a turn.
  • Put the bottles in a deep pot, on a false bottom container (to ensure your glass jars don’t directly touch the bottom of the pot). You can also use a clean wooden plank or cooling rack.
  • Fill the pot with water until the water level reaches the neck of the jars.
  • Heat the water to boiling point and sterilise the tomatoes for 20 minutes at 100º C (or boiling point).
  • Ladle some of the water out of the pot so you are able to handle the jars.
    Remove every jar separately and place it on a wooden surface or cooling rack.
  • Immediately put the lids on tightly.
  • Let the jars cool down at room temperature and store in a cool, dark place.
  • If the tomatoes rise to the top after cooling, leave the jar closed and don’t open to add more tomatoes. Opening the jar will make the contents spoil.

Picture - Jasper Raats



  • Peel the tomatoes and cut them into pieces. Remove all bad spots.
  • Mince the tomatoes and measure down the amount.
  • Add 10 ml salt to every 2, 5 litres of tomatoes.
  • Heat the tomatoes pieces to boiling point and boil for 15 minutes over low heat.
  • Ladle the tomato pulp into the jars while hot, seal immediately and let it cool down at room temperature.


  • Cut off stem scars and quarter the tomatoes.
  • Slowly bring up to boiling point and simmer over medium heat until the tomatoes become soft. Stir occasionally.
  • Push the pulp through a sieve with a wooden spoon into a container. Remove all pips and skins left behind in the sieve.
  • Add salt to taste and reheat the pulp up to boiling point.
  • Pour the pulp into jars and leave space for the mixture to expand.
  • Seal the jars immediately and place them into a deep pot with a false bottom.
  • Fill the pot with enough water so the jars are 2, 5 cm below the water.
  • Heat the water to boiling point and boil for 15 minutes.
  • Ladle out some of the water, take out the jars and allow to cool before storing.

share this