Fowlers whole peeled bottled tomatoes

Last week while scouring my favourite fruit shop for seasonal delights, I happened to come across some boxes of saucing tomatoes. BIG boxes of saucing tomatoes. 16 kilo boxes to be precise!

Of course, as you can imagine I just had to bring one of those big boxes home. Jumping in and turning 10 kilos or so into passata, I left the remaining tomatoes in a couple of bowls on the bench with designs in mind to bottle them whole.

Hubby took a liking to them though. Quite a liking!

Every time I turned around he was chopping and slicing those romas into something new and delicious with mutterings about how good they were!

If I wasn't going to be quick, there weren't going to be any tomatoes left to bottle, and my inaugural whole tomato bottling experiment would be shot to pieces!

It was ok, there were still a few kilos left to play with...

After coring and scoring an 'x' in the base of each tomato, they were blanched for around 30 seconds in simmering water, then refreshed in cold water to halt the cooking process...

..after which time the skins slipped off without incident.

It's very satisfying work peeling tomatoes, especially when the skins slide off this easily! Very satisfying!

Keeping a similar technique to my previous bottled fruit sessions, the peeled, whole tomatoes were squished  strategically positioned firmly into the preserving jars and surrounded with a watered down passata. 1/4 tsp of citric acid was added to each 600ml jar for safe acid levels during storage...

Rings, lids and clips were positioned and they were then processed in the large water bath sterilising unit. Actually, to be honest, as there were a dozen jars and they wouldn't all fit in one,  I had two units going at the same time...don't you just love coming across old Fowlers kits in opp shops?!

Curious to try them out, not having bottled whole tomatoes before, I cooked up a jar of them for some pasta sauce this week...

What pleased me most was that the tomatoes held their shape in the jars and were just like the bought variety...only 100 times better because they were locally grown, processed in our kitchen and weren't stored in suspicious, chemically lined tins!

After witnessing hubby's devastation as he returned home one night to find 'his' romas all bottled, I'm very keen to go back to this favourite fruit shop of mine and see if they have any more BIG boxes of tomatoey offerings....

I think I could be up for another tomato peeling session!


  1. Perfect timing, I was just thinking of doing tomatoes this way! I usually cut all my homegrown ones, to check for grubs mostly, before processing and I usually make a passata or pasta sauce. As I was using the Squeezo today, for a pizza sauce (I am currently cooking down in the slow cooker) AND thought to myself, there has to be an easier way to bottle tomatoes!! I also happened to see a post on Suburban Jubilee about bottling whole tomatoes too. It's a sign!

  2. yum, might need to find out where to source these red jewels. You really are too clever.

  3. How lucky you are. Looks delicious. My husband seemed to have the same idea when he came home and found lots of marmalade instead of his oranges... oh well.

    1. What a coincidence, dixiebelle! I was really happy with them..looking forward to seeing yours ;)

      Not clever, just painfully obsessed, Kirsty!

      Ha, Brittany, aren't they funny creatures!! :)

  4. I just gotta get a vacola. Thanks for showing us how to do it too, sometimes the idea of doing something feels a bit off putting if you are not sure.The lining of tins is worrying me too, and really it looks so simple to bottle your own. Going shopping today and Vacola is on my was going to be a haircut, now it is a vacola and it is all your fault that I am going another fortnight with hair like this(it's okay, I will just wear a hat)

  5. Good job! I missed 20k for $20 last week but still have my eyes peeled -- no pun intended. :)

  6. What a beautiful colour those tomatoes are....i love the fact that hubby lost 'his' tomatoes!!!
    They look delicious and by the tone of your post i think you had lots of fun too!!!

    1. Yes, Kim, you just GOTTA! Seriously, you would have a ball with one..there is just SO much that you can preserve with them.. fingers crossed the op-shop fairies oblige.

      Ah, what a great price, Rose! Love the pun! This 16k box was $14 from memory..I think!

      Yes, Hubby was most put out, Jode. I don't know why stuffing stuff into jars is so satisfying...but it is!! :)

  7. I did this last year with some of my own Romas and they
    were okay but not really suitable for what I wanted
    which was tomatoes to put in curries and pasta sauce.
    I just got a 10 kilo case at the market and fowlered
    them the usual way - chopped and half cooked.

  8. You always seem to get the great finds like this. I've been wanting to bottle tomatoes for ages because we use so many of them. You've inspired me to go looking at the farmers markets this weekend.

  9. Okay! Three questions!

    How do you know all this stuff about bottling like adding the citrus acid?! I'm always scared I'll poison my family!

    How do YOU manage to find a Fowler Vacola kit in the op shops when I've been dreaming about a second hand one forever?

    And where are the photos of hubby?!

    Those jars look great. I can just imagine the satisfaction of opening one in the dead of winter and enjoying yummy tomatoes. Good on you!

    1. That's a shame, Barbara..I wonder why they weren't suitable? I was also pondering over doing a batch of crushed tomatoes which would cut down on the mashing in the pot..

      Hmm, things like this (the fowlers kits or the tomatoes) always seem to pop up when you're not really looking, chez! Hope your farmers marketing was enjoyable :)

      Ha, ok Linda:
      1. Get yourself a copy of the Fowlers Vacola Guide to Successful Preserving for information about acid levels

      2. This was a complete fluke..I was in there one day looking for clothing and there it was..complete with electric cord all lonely looking down in a corner for a hefty price of $7! Unbelievable!

      3. Hubby is very camera shy! Very camera shy! :)

  10. I love making tomato sauce and tomato relish when I can get cheap tomatoes, but because it tastes so good it doesn't last long!

  11. Lovely stuff, Chris! You are very quickly convincing me that we need to revisit the Vacola idea.. :)

  12. Oooooh, those Romas look divine! Yum!

    1. Yes Deanne, the downfall (or the upside?) of preserving food at home!

      Celia, I know you can buy the units new online (Redback Trading?) and they come in different sizes depending on what model you're after. The hard part is finding somewhere to store the vessel when it's not in use! ;)

      Thanks, Faeryfay! :)

  13. Luscious color! Very welcome in my currently grey/brown and icy landscape :)

  14. yummy! I have been thinking about getting a vacola for a few weeks now and managed to pick one up this evening on ebay. Can't wait to get bottling, especially as we have lots of big fresh tomatoes ripening up in the vegie patch.

    I need to keep my eyes peeled in my local op shops too for more vacola bits and pieces.

  15. I'm starting out and trying to read what I can about what to buy, what not to buy and how many of what and how much!
    I'm posting in a few days time on exactly that. I've looked through your posts and done a search but no luck finding out what setup you have. If there's an enamel Fowlers Stovetop selling near me secondhand is that a good deal for $50? lol I have no idea :)

    Cheers and enjoying your posts


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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