Skip to Content

How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely – Storing Tomatoes Over The Winter

Did you know that how you store your canned tomatoes is just as important as safely processing them?

Having canned tomatoes on hand throughout the year is a great way to preserve the fresh flavors of the garden, but one thing is for sure, it needs to be done safely and properly for the safety of you and others who consume the food.

From tomato soup to diced tomatoes and more, it’s hard to beat all of the amazing products you can preserve from the beloved tomato. However, the care and attention you take in making and saving those tomatoes shouldn’t just end when the jars are sealed.

safely store canned tomatoes
There is nothing like the satisfaction of opening up home grown canned goods in the middle of the winter and enjoying the taste of the garden once again!

Properly storing all of your canned tomato products will ensure you have the best flavor, nutrients, and quality possible. But even more, it also means they will stay safe for consumption.

But in order to store them safely and have them last long into the winter months, there are a few key tips to keep in mind – and that is exactly what today’s article is all about!

How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely – Our Top Tips!

Whether you have made canned pasta sauce, tomato juice, or simply diced tomatoes, you never want to open up a jar of tomatoes to find gray, fuzzy mold growing under the lid.

What’s worse, you can find botulism in improperly canned and preserved goods. The problem with botulism is that you can’t smell, see, or taste the toxins in your canned tomatoes or other goods. This causes a serious risk to the health and safety of anyone who might consume it. 

Although processing your tomatoes properly when canning is the first key to safety and success, the next key is to make sure you are storing your tomato products in the right container – and in the right way!

Storing Tomatoes In Jars – How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely

Success in storing tomatoes begins with using the right kind of jars. Always use only clear glass jars that are made specifically for canning. Attempting to save money by re-using other types of glass jars is simply asking for trouble. (Affiliate Product Link: Regular Mouth Ball Mason Jars)

Two canning jars with the lids on a wooden table.
Only use jars that are intended for home canning. Inspect each one carefully for any damage before using.

When using approved jars, make sure they are free from cracks or chips. Even the smallest chip on the rim of the jar can cause a seal to fail. Be sure to check each and every jar before adding your tomato products.

After you have waited the proper time after canning – usually 24 hours – you now need to check to make sure the seals are strong on each jar. To do this, remove the band of the lid. You do not need the band and should remove it when storing. 

The band can actually harbor moisture, causing rust and other issues to form around the seal of your jar. In addition, the band can cause a false seal, not letting you see if a lid is properly sealed to the rim of the jar or not. 

Checking For A Proper Seal – How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely

After you have removed the band, carefully lift up the jar using only the lid. If the lid holds, it has a proper seal. Another way to check is to press on the center of the lid. There should be no movement at all in the lid. 

A hand removing the rim of a jar of canned tomatoes
Always store your canned tomato products without the rims.

Move any jars that did not seal properly to your refrigerator and consume them within two weeks. Label the sealed jars with the date and tomato product inside. The sealed jars are now ready for long-term storage. 

Picking The Right Location To Store Jars – How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely 

Now that your jars of tomatoes have properly sealed, it’s time to find the perfect place for safely storing them. You need to choose a location in your home that stays within 50 to 70º Fahrenheit. This ideal range is not too cold and not too warm and will help preserve the best flavor and texture of your canned products. 

Avoid ever allowing the jars to freeze or get near freezing as this can cause the jars to break. In addition, foods have a tendency to expand as they freeze, which may end up causing a break in the lid’s seal.

Also, avoid locations with high temperatures as well. High temperatures will cause the food to spoil much quicker. If you have your jars in an attached garage during the colder months, ensure that the same garage doesn’t get too hot during the summer months. 

You also need to avoid moisture, since this can corrode and damage the lids. If your basement or storage area has a tendency to have high moisture, use a dehumidifier. Lastly, avoid any location that has direct sunlight. This can cause the foods to lose nutrition as well as warm up the jars to unsafe temperatures. 

Ideal Storage – How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely

The best place for safely storing your canned tomatoes is a root cellar. However, most modern homes no longer have root cellars, so the next best option is a dry basement or a cool interior closet.   

Empty metal shelving that can be used to safely store canned tomatoes.
Heavy duty metal shelves like this are perfect for safely storing canning jars.

Store the jars in a single layer on a shelf to make the most of your space. This is important. Stacking jars on top of one another can easily damage the rims and the seal. You can use any type of shelving as long as it can safely hold the weight of the filled jars. The last thing you want is your shelving unit to break, ruining all that precious canned produce. 

Avoid using particleboard or manufactured board and opt for solid wood or metal shelves instead. You can also use sturdy plastic shelves as long as they can handle the weight load. 

Additional Tips – How To Store Canned Tomatoes Safely

Always store jars upright on the shelves. Placing them upside down or on their side will cause excess pressure to build up on the lids as well as cause the acid from the tomatoes to be in constant contact with the lids. This can cause the seals to weaken. 

When adding your jars to the shelving units, make sure to put the newest jars to at the back of the shelves. This allows you to easily grab and use the oldest jars first. Again, this is where labeling the jar lids with the date is extremely helpful.

Before the next canning season rolls around, take inventory of what canned tomato products you have left. Most seals are guaranteed to last up to 18 months. However, to enjoy the best flavor and quality, always try to use homemade canned tomatoes within one year of processing. 

By following these simple tips to safely and properly store your home canned tomato products, you can enjoy that fresh-from-the-garden flavor all year long! For some great tomato varieties to grow and preserve – be sure to check out our “Tomatoes To Grow” page on the website.

Follow Our Facebook Page For Even More Great Tomato Growing Tips! I Grow Tomatoes Facebook Page

I Grow Tomatoes is a website created for those who love all things about tomatoes – from planting and growing – to cooking and canning! We publish two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. Sign up today to follow via email! This article may contain affiliate links.