Simple Saturdays: Simplifying Canning!

Welcome to Simple Living Saturdays, where we are all seeking to encourage one another in purposefully simplicity for the glory of God! Today of which I am honored to host this carnival for the second time due to Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home’s absence. Next Saturday it will be back over at her blog!

I was deliberating delaying in completing my tomato canning process due to the long and tiring day of canning my cousin and I had last week! We had six lugs of tomatoes to can (somewhere around 150 pounds) and it took us all day to just do half the job! Amidst the peeling, dicing, and canning, we had a tomato get kindly speared all over the carpet and a pile of dark dirt get drug in by the munchkins from my container garden on the back deck! Very lively indeed! We still had a great time of fellowship, but I was on a quest to find a simpler method to make this process easier and less time consuming…


Do you really have to peel the peaches? I found they actually come off quite naturally in their jars after processing them in the water bath canner. Most of the peels just slip to the bottom of the jar after opening. Cooking the peaches prior to canning also seems to be quite unnecessary. I sliced them, and put them immediately into the jars and then poured my syrup mixture over them to fill the jar. (using a little honey and water). I followed these instructions and just skipped step 6 (peeling) & 9 (cooking) and used honey to sweeten (approx. 3/4 cup honey in replacement for each cup of sugar in the recipe).


I did peel my pears with a regular peeler (due to the harder peel) but rather than cooking them in their syrup, I simply peeled and packed them right away in their jars. I filled the remainder of the jar with the same mixture that I used with the peaches (3/4 cup honey in replacement of each cup of water and hot water). I followed these instructions and skipped step 8.


After doing some searching, I discovered two simple methods that work for simplifying tomatoes.

1) Simply freeze whole tomatoes in Ziploc bags! When you thaw them the peel will slide right off. You will preserve more of the nutrients by freezing. You can then toss them in the blender or food processor and make your sauce. Great if you have the freezer space.

2) Cut your tomatoes (with the skins on and all!) into quarters (depending on their shape) and place in a blender or food processor. You can keep the core and everything (besides the tops) as desired. Blend till you get a chunky tomato sauce (about 5-10 sec)! Place in your jars and process. No additional heating is necessary.

Since my freezers are overflowing (Praise the Lord!), I chose the second option. I had a batch of tomato sauce in the blender in a matter of seconds (thanks to my mom’s blender – mine is still out of commission -boo hoo!). Wow! I completed my dreaded canning process this way in less than 2 hours (for the remaining 1 1/2 lugs that I had on hand – approx. 35 lbs)! It was so awesome I had to share it with you!

I use the oven to keep my jars warm. As I am preparing the next batch for the canner, I keep filling jars and keeping them warm in the oven.

Thank the Lord for granting me the grace to simplify the process, especially while juggling a little toddler and being pregnant at the same time! Canning can get very time consuming, and draining, but it can also save you a lot of money, thus I thought I would take the plunge!

Living Simply Saturdays are an opportunity to share what is bringing more simplicity and purposefulness to your own life, and to glean from the lives of others.

To join in, post your contribution on your blog, then come back here and add your link below. Please make sure that you link to the specific post, and not to the homepage of your blog, and make sure that you include in your post a link back to this post. Thanks so much!

If you don’t have a blog, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

22 Responses to Simple Saturdays: Simplifying Canning!

  1. Cruz Perrota October 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I have been looking for reliable ideas on natural health and think that your site is . It is hard to find savvy ideas on the Internet, but I think I can use this information! If you have any more honest suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a bunch!

  2. Jerusha February 27, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    I didn’t even know people canned vegetables! I was always taught to freeze them…I actually freeze everything- pears, peaches, strawberries, etc. except tomatoes, and pie filling. Canning pie filling takes time but oh am I ever thankful when un-expected company comes!

  3. Marcy October 3, 2008 at 12:29 am #

    I just have to say THANK YOU for the tomatoe tips!!! I hate canning tomatoes every year, because it takes SO long… I chopped mine up & it took about 4-1/2 hours from start to finish :-) The other tip I loved was using the oven to keep the jars warm – I’ve been canning for over 10 years & had never heard that tip before!!

  4. Lauren September 29, 2008 at 8:21 am #

    I just canned some tomatoes from my own garden this weekend! I was so excited as I have only canned once before. Thankfully my husband’s grandmother is an expert canner and told me how to do it. We made 11 jars of tomatoes and I also have made three batches of marinara sauce with my home grown heirloom tomatoes and froze it. I feel so blessed by the Lord for this rich bounty!

  5. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home September 29, 2008 at 8:08 am #

    Well, I’m a novice with canning, too, so I won’t add any “expertise” to the topic at hand, LOL!

    I will say, though, that if you’re going to peel your peaches, the method of putting them in boiling water for a minute or so really does work! I processed 40 lbs of peaches in less than a day, by myself, and though I chose to freeze most of them (washed well, skins on), I ended up canning the last 10 lbs or so. It went fairly fast using that method, and there were only a handful of peaches who’s skin didn’t come off easily.

    Thanks so much for hosting again, Lindsay! Wonderful job, both weeks! :) And thanks to all who participated! The carnival will be back at my blog as of this Saturday.

    Happy canning, everyone! I’m back at it with 50 lbs of apples today!

  6. Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up September 29, 2008 at 3:57 am #

    The oven to keep the jars warm! Why did I never think of this? :-) Awesome tip. Hopefully I’ll be feeling up to canning some peaches and applesauce this week. I had to quit on my tomatoes cause it was making me nauseous! 5 days of smelling tomatoes did nothing for my preggo tummy other than give me an aversion to all things with tomato sauce! I have it canned, but now don’t want to use it. :-)

  7. bon September 28, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Back in the ’60s, I remember helping my grandmother can (and/or freeze) peaches. Her way of removing the skins was not difficult – she kept a very large pot of water boiling simmering) on the stove, would add her batch of peaches, then after a short period of time, probably no more than a minute or so after the blanching, she would strain the peaches out into a bowl and cover with cold water so that they could be handled – she was only blanching, not cooking. This causes the skins to release from the flesh and they ‘slip’ of easily using a knife. This method also works with tomatoes.

  8. Genny Rogers September 28, 2008 at 9:18 am #

    The question definitely is not ‘hot pack/raw pack’. Either one can be done on most foods. The question is bacteria/safety. First off, let me also say that I am by no means a ‘canning expert’ either, but I have been gardening/canning/freezing/dehydrating for about 15 years now, and have experienced lots of ‘Oops!’ situations! Jars exploding upon opening the canner (tomatoes are hard to get off the ceiling!),jam that doesn’t set or seal, scorched applesauce before I even get to the canning part, and foods that have gone bad in jars after canning (very disappointing!).
    There are lots of molds, yeast, bacteria, and enzymes that are present in the air that are on our food. We can wash our food and eat them and they won’t harm us in their small numbers. The problem comes when food is canned with bacteria which is present on the skins; some botulism-causing bacteria will thrive in the absence of air in a moist environment (a canning jar). Strangely enough, some fruits/veggies can be canned with skins and some are recommended to be peeled. Why? That I can’t tell you! :-) I always follow the Ball Blue Book canning guidelines as I know their recipes have been tested, tested, and tested again for years!
    Obviously, most molds/bacteria, etc can’t grow in freezing cold, thus food can be frozen easily with skins and won’t risk bacteria growth.
    As a long-time canner/simplifier/self-sufficiency advocate, I have to say that I think this discussion is fabulous! I love it when canning/food preservation/self-sufficient ideas comes to the table! It means folks are learning new things and changing their thinking, and I think that’s wonderful! Let’s keep it up! Gen–IL Homesteader

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola September 28, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

      That’s exactly why I have always peeled my peaches too! :) I had heard that peach skin easily harbors bacteria (in & under it). I peel my peaches exactly like “Bon” (below) mentions.

    • Lindsay September 28, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

      Thanks Genny for sharing again! It looks like it may just be the best approach to peel peaches before canning. Definitely eliminating cooking the produce (choosing the raw pack method) helped save alot of time and simplified the process for me.

  9. Laura September 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    I don’t understand. Are you saying that you don’t cook the fruit or veggies at all? You just can them without cooking them?

    If it’s unnecessary, then why does everyone cook them before canning?

    • Lindsay September 27, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

      Yes, I didn’t do any cooking. I just packed them in hot liquid and eliminated cooking them. There appears to be some concerns in regards to safety (which I addressed in part above in reply to comment #4). I found many said that not cooking them was fine and not a huge concern.
      This is what the recipe I used said from Pick Your Own:

      Hot packing is recommended for all fruits because it is a bit safer (they didn’t explain why?) and makes fruit easier to pack in jars. Hot packed peaches are also less likely to float than peaches canned by the raw-pack method. Just put the cut peaches into the barely boiling syrup solution for 5 minutes. (If you want to use the “cold pack” or “raw pack” method, just skip this step!)

      Hot packing also helps top reduce air entrapment (bubbles) as the cell structure of peaches tends to retain air; which is released during the heating prior to the jars being filled. Hot packing also tends to produce brighter colors.

      These things did not seem too significant to me personally…but it can be done either way. It is completely up to you!

      • DeAnna September 28, 2008 at 7:28 pm #

        I think the only safety issue when “pick your own” mentions that, is because some people put the peaches in jars that aren’t warm and then put in hot liquid and it can break the jars. I think I read that somewhere on that site or somewhere else. I did a few jars of peaches, this is my first time/year canning so I didn’t buy alot, just wanted to try out 1/2 bushel first. I froze most of my peaches and made some preserves and only canned 4 quarts. With the ones I did can, I cooked a little before. I wish I hadn’t, but oh well, live and learn. I think I will try it like you next time, way too much extra work with busy little ones in the house. :)

        Did you find canning tomatoes rather than making them into spaghetti sauce, etc. was cost effective? I canned some spahetti sauce, but didn’t find it to be much less expensive than buying organic spaghetti sauce in the store. I’m sure I will love it and enjoyed canning them, but not very frugile even at a cheap farmers market price. I didn’t cook them much, just a couple minutes to mix in everything, but they “shrunk” up quite a bit. Again, live and learn. Next year I’m going to try gardening some tomatoes, but I was wondering if I had just canned them as tomatoes instead of sauce how that would have worked out.

  10. Susannah September 27, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    with the tomatoes…this year i just put the whole raw thing in the vitamix (of course i cut out bad spots) and it took care of the skins, you don’t even know they are there. It cut down on the canning time and made my job easier. I have even enjoyed some of cans since that time and they taste great. I’m enjoying the “simple” posts!

  11. Genny Rogers September 27, 2008 at 12:08 pm #

    Lindsey, Actually, it is recommended that you peel the peaches before canning because there is too much bacteria on the skin that can ruin your food in the jars. They say only 10% of bacteria comes off by washing. Best to peel if you want to be safer. With tomatoes, if I’m not doing salsa or sauce, I blend my fruit first and then freeze in two cup containers. Works great! Glad you’re enjoying preserving! It’s addicting! Gen

    • Lindsay September 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm #

      I guess that would depend upon what kind of peaches you are using. I read in several sources that I could keep the peels on just fine. The peaches I purchased were completed spray free from a local farmer.

      • Kate September 27, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

        There’s still bacteria tho. Pesticides are different from bacteria. Spray free doesn’t mean free from bacteria. Just means no pesticides.

        E-coli comes to mind.

        • Lindsay September 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

          To address these concerns, I will state first off that I am definitely no canning safety expert. I understand that removing the peach skins is a matter of preference. My research did not prove any solid evidence of bacteria. I found several sources (including the Pick Your Own directions I followed online) and forum discussions (read here and here) that said leaving the skins on was completely fine.

          Bacteria might concern me in regards to using non-organic produce, as a lot of pesticides can reside in the peel. It does not make sense to me personally, considering we eat them fresh with the skins on and all. Current research is showing that their is alot of nutrients in the skins and seeds of most fruits and vegetables so we should eat them to the fullest. I also have friends that freeze peaches with skins on for years and had no problems and I did some of my own frozen with skins as well.

          I would love to hear if you know of any solid evidence in regards to the bacteria concern. It is definitely an area of liberty. If you are concerned, peel your peaches. The Lord is gracious to extend grace to a busy mother like me in this season of my life to simplify the process!

  12. Jo Ann September 27, 2008 at 6:20 am #

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I have definitely been looking for an easier way to do my canning with 3 little ones running around. I’ve been enjoying your site for a couple of weeks now and really appreciate what you share! Thank you

  13. judy September 27, 2008 at 6:16 am #

    A delightful way to begin my Saturday! I, too, have tomatoes calling my name . . . Thank you for hosting! judy

  14. Shannon September 26, 2008 at 10:19 pm #

    I’m curious: Do you have fresh produce up there from a farmer’s market you’re using to can tomatoes, pears, apples, and such? Or do you grow your own?

    Most of the produce we get down here (in SE Texas) is picked way before it’s ripe and shipped from California or overseas. It’s a bummer… not even worth canning.

    We can get some tomatoes at our farmer’s market, and there’s a farm here with a very short pear season, but that’s about it. I am wondering where I can find fresh, vine-ripened, healthful produce that I can can and use all year long.

    P.S. Lindsay, I used your peanut butter chocolate ice cream recipe tonight for our birthday party tomorrow… it is DELICIOUS! Thanks!

    • Lindsay September 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

      I grew some tomatoes this year but not enough to complete much canning, mainly for fresh eating. I was given the pears by a friend with an overload, and then I purchased pears from a local farmer. I would recommend taking advantage of whatever produce you have available. Pears and tomatoes work great for canning and preserving that local goodness!