You can use canned tomatoes as an ingredient in many recipes, making them a lovely and convenient ingredient to have in your kitchen. But there are some pros and cons to canning your own tomatoes. So, is it actually worth doing?
Although there are pros and cons to canning tomatoes, it is still a great option. There can be some upfront and maintenance costs, but you benefit from overall cost savings, complete control over the ingredients, higher quality of flavor, and it’s also the environmentally friendly option.
But canning certainly isn’t for everyone, and ther’ll be cases where it isn’t really worth it for some people. In this article, we’ll go through:
- The pros and cons of canning tomatoes
- When it is or isn’t worth it for you can tomatoes
Is It Worth Canning Tomatoes?
There are many benefits to canning your tomatoes, but there are also some downsides to think about. Some of the advantages include:
- Being very cost-effective in the long term
- A healthier option than store-bought products
- High-quality taste
- Environmentally friendly
Many of us are concerned about what ingredients are added to foods that we buy from the store. Many of the ingredients you read on product labels are not only hard to pronounce, but don’t sound like food items at all!
Canning tomatoes yourself is a sure fire way to know that everything you are eating in this homemade product is in fact real, wholesome food, making it a much healthier alternative.
And one of the best things about canning your own tomatoes? It’s also environmentally friendly, so you’ll be doing your bit to help out our precious planet. (More details on this later in this article)
Some of the disadvantages of canning your own tomatoes are:
- larger upfront cost (but not excessive, as you’ll see later in this article)
Let’s take a more detailed look at whether canning tomatoes is right for you…
Cost of Canning Equipment For Your Tomatoes
It is crucial to choose the correct storage containers before you start making the mixture. The initial cost of the equipment you will need may be relatively high.
Even though it is a bit costly, it can be used multiple times, and after a few months and years, the equipment’s overall cost will end up being minimal. Let’s take a look at what equipment you would need for canning and how much it might set you back…
Equipment Needed for Canning Tomatoes & Other Foods
The basic equipment you would need for canning tomatoes and other foods would be:
- Suitable canning jars (reusable)
- Bands for the jars (reusable)
- Lids (new lids every time you can a new food)
Canning jars are great storage containers for canning tomatoes, and the nice thing about them is that they can be reused multiple times. These jars on Amazon are a great starter set for canning. They’re made from high quality BPA free and lead free food grade material, and the lids are made from rust-free aluminium.
They’re also great because they’re made of glass, making them dishwasher safe and reusable for years to come, and the bands and lids are provided with the pack so no need to worry about sourcing them separately.
Canning aside, the jars are so versatile even for non canning needs, as they are airtight, making them ideal for regular food storage too.
The tomato canning containers and bands can be reused multiple times for new batches you produce, but you will need new covers/lids for every new product made.
Canning jars, lids, and bands can cost about $8.99 for a dozen. When looking at the cost over the first year, it will cost you around $0.75 per month. If you keep your equipment well, you can use these jars for over ten years, making them very cost-effective.
You will need to purchase new covers for every new batch you make. These will cost about $0.16 per cover. The covers are not very expensive and they will be your only ongoing expense for your canned tomatoes (apart from the ingredients of course!).
You can buy a whole bunch of lids from Amazon here, where you have the option of choosing how big a pack you’d like to buy depending on how often you can tomatoes, and how much you want to save.
You also have the option of buying reusable covers/lids too. This saves you the hassle of having to remember to buy some each time you make a new batch.
Purchasing Second-Hand Equipment for Canning
Purchasing second-hand equipment will help you bring the overall cost down if you have a specific budget. You could receive second-hand equipment from a friend or family member, or you could buy them at a second-hand store.
If you have received or have purchased these jars, it is crucial to check that there isn’t any damage, such as cracks or nicks on the cans’ rims. This is super important for canning, because even a small crack or nick can affect the jars ability to seal properly.
Difference In Price Of Homemade & Store-Bought Canned Tomatoes
When comparing the price between homemade and store-bought canned tomatoes, a few factors need to be considered. Comparing your price to the cheapest can in the store is not entirely fair because the quality of this can will not be the same as your homemade product.
Something that can affect your canned tomatoes’ price is whether you grow your tomatoes, or buy them in bulk at the store.
If you purchase your tomatoes at the store, it will be more expensive than growing them in your garden:
- Homegrown tomatoes can cost up to $0.25 per jar
- A bulk pack store-bought tomatoes can cost around $1.75 for a 32 ounces jar
- An organic tin of tomatoes purchased at a store can cost about $3.45 per 16 ounces
This shows that it is much cheaper to make your canned tomatoes. So although canning your tomatoes can start off being a bit costly because of the purchase of canning equipment, you end up saving A LOT of money in the long term.
Most (if not all) of the materials that you’ll need can be reused if looked after well. If you continue to can regularly, it’s a very cost-effective. Making canned tomatoes is undoubtedly advantageous during bad economic times.
But cost is not necessarily the only consideration when trying to figure out if it is worth doing or not. Time is another big factor…
Is It Time Effective To Can Your Tomatoes?
Time is an essential factor when it comes to making canned tomatoes because it can take a great deal of time to make. However, it is still possible to make a year’s supply of canned tomatoes within one day.
So if you’re strapped for time, it is still a perfectly viable option. Because canned tomatoes have such a long shelf life, you can make them all in one go and leave them in storage ready for when you need it.
In fact, it’s more practical to make bigger batches of canned tomatoes than only making a few cans at a time, as this will be more time-effective.
Your homemade unopened canned tomatoes can last up to 2 years when kept in the pantry. (Store-bought canned tomatoes can last longer than this).
Is It Healthier To Can Your Own Tomatoes?
All canned foods are not necessarily healthier than fresh or frozen foods because canned products contain fewer nutrients than fresh or frozen produce.
Water-soluble nutrients can become lost in the liquid during production and canning. Although this is true, canning your own tomatoes is much healthier compared to store-bought products.
The ingredients found in many canned goods in stores are usually high in corned syrup, sugar, salt, GMOs, and other preservatives.
When making and canning your tomatoes, you can choose what ingredients you would like to add. Your family’s health is of great importance, which is why it is worth canning your own tomatoes.
The type of container you choose is also something to look at with canned foods. Many people choose to can their tomatoes in glass jars as they don’t enjoy the tinny taste that comes with tin canned tomatoes.
Tin cans can release chemicals that leach out of the can’s metal and plastic lining into the product, which is why glass jars are much healthier and safer to use.
When you make homemade canned tomatoes, it is vital to ensure that the proper storage containers and the correct techniques are used. And it’s also good to know what signs indicate if your canned goods have gone off to ensure they’re safe to consume. (This is vital for homemade and store-bought products!)
Is it More Eco Friendly to Can Your Own Tomatoes?
If looking after the environment is essential to you, you will reduce your environmental footprint even more by canning your own tomatoes.
Growing your tomatoes can help reduce the pollutants released when transporting food from the farms to the factory and then to the distributor. Canning jars and reusable lids, which can last years, will save on packaging waste too.
Do Homemade Canned Tomatoes Taste Better than Store Bought?
The quality of flavor is always better with homemade products because they are personally made and not produced in large quantities.
QUICK TIP: The quality of taste will be even better with homegrown tomatoes, especially if they are picked and canned straight away once ripened! This is when they are the most flavorsome and also the most nutritious!
A product of this quality will be costly in stores, which will help you save money. The other added benefit is that you can alter the recipe to your taste, and you will be able to experiment with flavor combinations in each new batch.
Canning tomatoes is a perfect way to preserve your tomatoes, especially if you have an abundance of homegrown tomatoes waiting to be used. It’s a great product to have in the kitchen for a quick dinner that is flavorful and healthy.
Canning your tomatoes is more nutritious, the taste is much richer, and it will improve your dishes’ flavor.
There are other ways of preserving tomatoes that have been grown in the garden too. You can freeze tomatoes for later use, which will also protect the nutrients. The only thing you cannot do is can raw tomatoes as the FDA does not recommend this.
Once you have decided that canning tomatoes are a good idea, it will be useful to look at the various techniques that can be used and which is best for you.
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