Italian Stewed Tomatoes

Fantastic for those hardy winter stews, pastas sauces and lasagnas. Ensure not to deviate from the recipe.


  • 16 cups (4000 ml) prepared tomatoes, about 8 lb (3.6 kg), 24 medium-large
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) chopped green pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dried basil


  • Place 7 clean 500 ml mason jars on rack in pressure canner; add 2–3 inches (5-8 cm) water and heat jars to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.
  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.
  • Wash, peel, core and chop tomatoes. Measure 16 cups (4000 ml).
  • Combine tomatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, sugar, salt and basil in a large stainless steel saucepan. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Ladle stewed tomatoes into a hot jar to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more tomato mixture. Wipe jar rim removing any residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining tomato mixture. If stacking jars, place a second rack between layers of jars.
  • When canner is full, adjust water to level as directed by canner manufacturer. Lock canner lid in place and follow manufacturer’s heating instructions. Vent canner–allow steam to escape steadily–for 10 minutes; close vent.
  • When canner reaches the pressure appropriate for your altitude* and type of pressure canner, begin counting processing time. Process – heat filled jars – 500 ml jars - 15 minutes; 1 L jars – 20 minutes.
  • When processing time is complete turn off heat. Allow canner to stand undisturbed until pressure drops to zero. Wait 2 minutes longer, and then remove cover, tilting it away from your face. Remove jars without tilting. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands. After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.