The Q&A Archives: Tomatoes for Canning

Question: Last year I had access to a type of tomato (I don't know which type) to use for making spaghetti sauce. The tomatoes were large and many were cracked. In the blanching process prior to peeling, the tomatoes absorbed a lot of water. Consequently, the sauce ended up being more watery than I like. Could you recommend a tomato variety that will grow well in Maine and be suitable for canning? I don't mind if they are a little smaller if they don't crack and will peel easily. Thank you very much for your help. This site is an excellent resource for inexperienced gardeners like me. I hope I don't wear out my welcome!

Answer: I like to use plum tomatoes for making sauce. Burpee's 'Viva Italia Hybrid' is a good choice, but any type of plum tomato will do. (Plum tomatoes are elongated, shaped like a small pear.) Plum tomatoes tend to be meatier and have less juice. If you think you'll be canning sauce for years to come, you might want to invest in a special strainer, like Burpee's "Sauce Strainer". You put tomatoes in the top, crank a handle, and it grinds up the tomatoes, separating out the seeds and skin. That way, you don't have to blanch the tomatoes first. (You can also use if for other types of canning, jelly-mailing, etc.) And feel free to keep submitting questions! That's what we're here for!

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