# of tomatoes in pint, quart

lidoSeptember 3, 2009

I'm brand new to canning this year and I have what I'm sure is an inexperienced beginner's questions, but here goes...

Is there a rule of thumb for how many small, medium or large tomatoes make up a pint or a quart?

Is it correct to assume that the initial count relates to unchopped tomatoes?

Or is the relationship defined after you chop them and get them into a measuring cup when the mass has changed?

I've seen in a thread here that someone said about 6 large are in a quart. I'm wondering if there is a similar relationship for the other tomato sizes.

Thanks for helping a middle-aged beginner.

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Hi Lida,

The number of tomatoes per jar depends on the size of the tomatoes, the type (paste versus slicer), how you remove the skins & cores (boiling water dip versus food mill), other ingredients added (onions, peppers etc.) and how far you boil them down.

I happen to count and weigh my tomatoes before canning and measure the volume in the pot (sigh). If you are just going to can hot crushed tomatoes, I average 10 tomatoes per quart of a mixture of paste and slicer tomatoes. That said, the amount can vary from 8 to 12 depending on the ratio of paste to slicer. This is using a boiling water dip to skin the tomatoes.

When I make salsa, which has added ingredients and is boiled down, I average 13 tomatoes per quart, again a mixture of paste and slicer types.

Your mileage may vary, so best to experiment and keep some records.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 9:21AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

To further complicate ;) - it will depend on the type of quart jars used, old ones vs. new ones (their shape and size is a smidge bigger but still called "quarts". And wide-mouth (hold a bit more) or regular mouth.

The "estimate" that NCHFP gives us is:

Quantity: An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 15 to 21 quarts-an average of 3 pounds per quart.

Not much help I know.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 9:40AM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

Rather than calculate the number of tomatoes per quart or pint, I find it more helpful to judge by the "batch". We have been canning tomatoes (whole) for more than 20 years, and by now I know that 2 five-gallon buckets of our Viva Italia tomatoes gives us about 3 pressure canner's worth (21 quarts). That way I have some idea of how many jars and lids and time I need for a canning session.
From Garden

From Garden

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 9:48AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

See the other thread about weights of tomatoes.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:12PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Great pics, coffeehaus! Checked out your Garden album too and those are some impressive looking plants. Good gardening. :)


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 1:19PM
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afeisty1(St. Louis)

Beautiful tomatoes, coffeehaus! We've tried growing roma tomatoes but they've never looked like yours. I'll have to make a note to look for that specific variety.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 11:14PM
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dian57(M-H Valley NY-5)

I was sorta disappointed last weekend to find that 44 lbs of tomatoes only yeilded 5 quarts of sauce.

I used the recipe for seasoned sauce from the Ball Blue Book. The tomatoes were from a local farm that friends own. I don't know the variety of tomatoes, but my friend said they were good to use for sauce and canning.

I processed them through a food mill to remove seeds and skin and simmered to the desired consistency before canning.

I really thought I'd get more than 5 quarts of sauce, sigh.
Now I know for next time.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 5:45AM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

Not to hijack this thread, but thanks for the kind words. DH has been growing organically for the last couple of years, but it's all about the soil, and the mulching. Viva Italia is a wonderful hybrid tomato for canning: determinate, good flavor, high resistance to many diseases, lovely red color in the jar, and very productive! I've never seen Viva plants in stores, so I always grow my own from seeds, available from several sources. We picked 4 five-gallon buckets from 6 plants.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 2:47PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

40 pounds of tomatoes for just 5 quarts? Thats terrible! Better off growing your own and planting, meaty paste, and plum types. I also like the mild Oxheart which is very high in pulp and very low in liquid. If you only ended up with a small amount of thickened sauce, its probbaly due to the tomatoes being very high in water content that gets boiled off. I will not grow any of the big sandwich types like beefsteaks, big boy or early girls, as they are just for eating plain. Some of my favorites include San Marzano and its cousin the super San Marzano. Its always a good idea to mix several varieties for making sauce, as that gives a more complex flavor combination. I never buy tomato plants, I only buy seeds and start my own indoors in late March or early April to plant outside in late May. Two sources for a good selection of tomato seeds is Tomato Growers and Totally Tomatoes.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 7:13PM
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Thanks everyone. I took the 'plunge' and labored this Labor Day canning! And I'm patting myself on the back because I actually got jars that sealed! I'm very grateful for my neighbors who held my hand through the process.

I ended up using 30 tomatoes of assorted sizes, which with the recipe I used converted into 2 1/2 qts raw tomatoes. I ended up with 7 1/2 pts of salsa (the one on the N. Mexico canning website).

I do see what you have said about a rule of thumb with exceptions and more exceptions. But, I'm a convert - I'll be canning again and again...now that I'm over my fear of it!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 9:39PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Is your recipe an approved one that factors in safety by making sure there is sufficient acid and isn't too dense?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 12:17AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Congrats lido! Glad you are over your fears. Just remember that the goal isn't so much "jars that seal", it is getting safe foods into the jars. ;)

Even sewer water processed in a jar will seal so let us know about the recipe you used and the techniques the neighbors suggested. Hope they were up to date on canning guidelines.

And be sure to take the time to review the guidelines at NCHFP so you can start off on the right foot. :^)


    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 12:30AM
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