Minnesota Mix is a delicious, home-canned aromatic stewed tomato mixture including celery, onion and pepper.
Use it as a base for baked pasta dishes, casseroles, rice dishes, curries, soups and stews, etc.
Once you get used to the convenience of having it on hand, you won’t want to be without it. Make it at the end of summer when tomatoes are being sold cheaply in quantity. You can use paste tomatoes, or regular slicing type tomatoes, or a mixture of both.
Usually mixtures such as this require pressure canning, but this recipe was developed and tested by the University of Minnesota Extension service to be safe for water-bath canning. (It was also further tested by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.)
If you would like a product similar to this that was developed for pressure canning, see “Stewed Tomatoes and Vegetables” in the Ball / Bernardin Complete Guide (2015 edition), page 378 OR “Stewed Tomatoes” in So Easy To Preserve (2014 edition), page 59. (See also for pressure canning: Tomatoes with okra.)
You may wish to double this recipe to get a full canner load of quarts / litre sized jars: if so, just do your calculations on paper first before proceeding so that you aren’t trying to do mental gymnastics in the thick of things.
- 1 The recipe
- 2 Minnesota Mix
- 3 Using canned or frozen tomatoes
- 4 Processing
- 5 Reference information
- 6 Cooking from canning recipes
- 7 Recipe Source
- 8 Safety check
- 9 Freezing Minnesota Mixture
- 10 Nutrition information
- 11 History
Jar size choices: Either ½ litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Water bath or steam canning
Yield: 6 x ½ litre (US pint) jars
Headspace: 2 cm (½ inch)
Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 40 minutes; litres (quarts) 50 minutes
- 3 kg tomatoes (12 cups / 6 ½ lbs. Measured after peeling and quartering.)
- 75 g green pepper (coarsely diced. ½ cup / 3 oz. Measured after prep. 1 medium-sized green pepper. )
- 75 g onion (coarsely diced. ½ cup / 3 oz. Measured after prep. 1 medium-sized onion.)
- 125 g celery (coarsely diced. 1 cup / 4 oz. Measured after prep. 1 large stalk. )
- lemon juice (bottled. OR citric acid)
- Peel and quarter the tomatoes.
- Wash, core, seed and chop the green pepper.
- Peel and chop the onion.
- Wash and chop the celery.
- Mix tomatoes, pepper, onion and celery together in large pot.
- Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile to each half-litre (pint jar) you will be using add either ¼ teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice; OR if using litre (quart) jars, add either ½ teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice.
- Pack tomato mixture hot into jars.
- Leave 2 cm (½ inch) headspace.
- Debubble, adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath or steam canner.
- Process ½ litre (US pint) jars for 40 minutes; process litre (US quart) jars for 50 minutes for altitudes up to 600 metres / 2000 feet. See table below.
Using canned or frozen tomatoes
AnswerLine has of 2022 has responsibility for answering canning questions from both Iowa State and Minnesota State. We asked them if they would support making this out of season with frozen or canned tomatoes. They said yes, just use the same amount:
“Thanks for your question about using other tomatoes for canning the Minnesota Mix. Frozen or commercially or home canned tomatoes could be used for this recipe. Just be sure to use the same amount. ” Beth Marrs. AnswerLine. Email to Randal Oulton 7 September 2022. Email on file.
Boiling water bath or steam canning
Tomato mixture is to go into jars piping hot. Steam-canning cannot be used as an option for litre / quart jars as the processing time would be over 45 minutes; 45 minutes is the safe cut-off time for steam canning lest some models of steam canners run out of water.
For processing times for altitudes over 600 metres / 2000 feet, you will need to contact the Minnesota Extension and ask them.
There are no tested pressure canning times, so you must water bath (or its equivalent, steam canning), or use one of the similar tested recipes noted at the top of this page that were designed for pressure canning.
|Jar size||0 to 600 m (1,001 - 2,000 ft)|
|½ litre (1 US pint)||40 mins|
|1 litre (1 US quart)||50 mins|
How to peel tomatoes.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
More information about Sugar and Salt-Free Canning in general.
More information about canning tomatoes in general.
Storage life of home canned goods
Cooking from canning recipes
Minnesota Mix Macaroni Hotdish
Burtness, Carol Ann. Tomato Mixture – Minnesota Style. University of Minnesota Extension. Revised 2014 by Suzanne Driessen. Accessed January 2019.
- Left out the 3 teaspoons of salt. They are not needed for safety. Salt seasoning can be done as appropriate at time of use depending what recipe or dish you are making. You can add the 3 teaspoons of salt or (non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub) back in if desired.
Freezing Minnesota Mixture
Want to freeze this instead of canning it? Go ahead!
We asked the Minnesota Extension AnswerLine if they had any specific freezing advice. They said,
The Minnesota Tomato Mixture will freeze just fine. In general, we recommend you preserve no more food than you will eat in a year so yes, the 8 to 12 months [Ed: use by freezer date, for optimum quality] is correct…. You may want to consider using freezer bags. They conveniently stack flat in your freezer and do a very good job of keeping ice crystals from forming on the inside of the bag.” Minnesota Extension AnswerLine to Randal Oulton. 13 November 2017. Email on file.
Ed: to be clear, you can of course freeze for far longer. As long as it’s frozen, it’s safe. Freezer dates are meant to indicate date after which optimum quality on some products may start to diminish. For those who wish to freeze in re-usable containers instead of single-use disposable plastic bags, that’s fine. Follow the freezer headspace recommendations over at the National Center.
Per 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz):
- 198 calories, 43 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 5 points
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
An earlier version, as recent as 2006, apparently did not call for acidification as it does now. The guidelines were revised in 2014 by Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator — Food Safety. It’s possibly then that the acidification was added. Challer, Barb. Stewed Tomatoes Discussion Thread on rec.food.preserving. 30 April 2006. Accessed January 2016.
Can I puree all of the ingredients and it still be safe? My husband likes the flavor of this for cooking but has an aversion to the texture/chunks of veggies. I’m kind of a newbie and wasn’t sure if pureeing this would change the safety.
Purée after opening.
Can I substitute a cup of peppers (like Anaheim or jalapeño) for the celery?
We didn’t develop the recipe, so it might be best to ask the folks at University of Minnesota Extension Service if that is a swap that they would support.
We enjoyed this recipe. It’s light and refreshing (straight out of the pot.) I do think it needs salt (I prefer it cooked into my dish as opposed to adding it all later.) My tomatoes are pretty good sized so when I stuck the “quarter” rule, I have chunks that are way too large. Next time, I’ll cut my tomatoes in half or in thirds and then quarter each chunk. Some of mine are 1 lb each so I’ll just make each chunk Roma sized. I’ll make this recipe several more times before the end of the season. Thanks for sharing.
Can you use frozen onion also. Thanks in advance.
Yes, you could use the frozen diced onion in bags for this, for sure.
Can previously frozen tomatoes be used? I have a lot of tomatoes in the freezer
Yes. Just use the same amount as called for in the recipe, and thaw them first before starting to assemble the recipe.
I forgot the lemon juice is that a problem I only made 4 pints
I can’t tell you it will be okay. You may wish to speak with this group of Master Food Preservers to decide how to proceed: https://www.facebook.com/UCCEElDoradoMFP/
above it says Cook time 1hr. in instructions it says bring to a simmer cook uncovered 10 minutes Tues?????Minnesota canned tomato recipe
Sorry for the confusion. The recipe programme makes us give a cook time. So for cooktime, we decided to roughly combine simmering time and processing time.
Hi! This recipe looks great! I’m looking for something that could be a good substitute for Rotel.can anyone vouch for the flavors? if I add my own seasonings after opening would this be similar?
Hi, I just made this in August. I’ve only used one or two jars so far. I canned some using bell peppers and some I used jalapeños. Because the quantity of peppers and onions is low (for safety) it is similar to stewed tomatoes. It’s very good. I’ve used it in chili and as sauce for stuffed tomatoes. I think you could use like Rotel and adjust the heat by using hot peppers when you can it. Hope that helps!
How long can you freeze this?
8 to 12 months. Freezing section now added above; thanks for raising the topic!
Hi Can you leave the skins on the tomato’s or do you have to peel them?
Hi Dawn, they do need to be peeled, for safety reasons. See here for how and why: https://healthycanning.com/peeling-tomatoes/
Can I use store bought tinned tomatoes for this Minnesota Mix recipe. I would like to can year round and this year my tomatoes did not do well. Thank you.
Yes you may. Just measure out the same amount of whole canned tomatoes as for fresh. Include the juice.
can you use frozen pepper instead of fresh?
Hi Shirley, yes, just thaw the pepper completely first.