Making fresh tomato juice
The shelves of the pantry stocked with tomato juice from the garden

Making fresh tomato juice is one the easiest and wonderful things you can do with your garden tomatoes!

One quick search around the internet and blog world – and its pretty easy to see that gardening and canning are coming back in style!  People are more eager than ever to grow their own food – and are looking for ways to preserve that fresh and wholesome taste for use throughout the year.

There is no better and easier way to ease into canning than making fresh tomato juice from just-picked garden tomatoes.  Whether they are from your own home-grown stock – or picked up at a local farmers market or roadside stand – the taste is out of this world – and its so easy to make!

Making fresh tomato juice
Freshly chopped tomatoes beginning to cook down on the stove

Tomato juice is a staple in our canning cabinet every year. We can close to 70 quarts each season.  It’s enough to keep us in garden fresh tomato juice year round – with enough left over to use as a base in our vegetable and chili soups.  Oh, and yes, the occasional base for an incredible bloody mary 🙂

We have included our simple canning recipe below.  With so many to do – we do use our Roma Food Strainer and Sauce Maker to speed our juicing along – but you can just as easily use a simple food mill to make a few batches to make and preserve your own.

Instructions:

Making fresh tomato juice
We run our tomatoes through a tomato press – but you can just as easily use a simple food mill to remove skins and seeds

Making Fresh Tomato Juice

Select ripe, firm and fresh tomatoes for your juice.  You can mix any variety for juice – another benefit to making your own.  Roma tomatoes will give you a thicker juice, while varieties like big boy, celebrity and early girl will have more juice.

Wash and clean your tomatoes, be sure to remove any bad spots and discard any tomatoes that are overly ripe or show signs of decay or rot.

Dice up tomatoes into smaller 1/2″ to 3/4″ chunks – enough to fill a 6 or 8 quart stock pot

Place stock pot on medium low heat and let the tomatoes start to cook down slowly – making sure to stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.

As the tomatoes cook down – we like to add a few more fresh-cut tomatoes to keep the stock pot full.

Making fresh tomato juice
Using a ladle to fill up the jars.

Continue to cook down tomatoes until they become soft and fall apart at the touch

At this point – we run our tomatoes through our food mill to remove the skins and seeds and squeeze out the juice.  We use the tomato press because of the quantity  – but for small batches – the food mill will work great.

Once all the tomatoes have been run through – return the liquid into a stock pot and begin to heat through on medium to medium high heat.  You want to get the tomato juice to a slow rolling boil.

Wipe the top of your jars and place on the lids
Wipe the top of your jars and place on the lids

Let boil for 10 minutes and you are ready to can.

Sterilize your pint or quart jars by running through your dishwasher – and then heat the jars and warm the lids in a separate stock pot.

Add your juice to heated jars, along with a teaspoon of lemon juice.  The lemon juice will not change the flavor – it is only included to help increase the acid level.  Although almost all tomatoes will already be high enough in acidity for canning – it is a simple extra step to insure safety. As an optional ingredient – you can also add a half teaspoon of salt per quart jar for taste.

Water bath for 10 minutes
Water bath for 10 minutes

Wipe the rim, and seal with a warm ring and lid.  Process quarts in a hot water bath for 40 minutes.

Remove jars and place on a towel and let cool for 24 hours before storing, Check to make sure all jars are sealed by pushing on the lid – if the lid is down and won’t move it is sealed appropriately. If not – immediately place in your refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

As a general rule of thumb – one 8 qt. stock pot full of tomato juice will yield enough to can about 7 quart jars

Store sealed jars on cool dark shelf for up to 12 months.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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How To Make Your Own Tomato Juice

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Wash and clean your tomatoes, be sure to remove any bad spots and discard any tomatoes that are overly ripe or show signs of decay or rot.
  2. Dice up tomatoes into smaller 1/2" to 3/4" chunks - enough to fill a 6 or 8 quart stock pot
  3. Place stock pot on medium low heat and let the tomatoes start to cook down slowly - making sure to stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.
  4. As the tomatoes cook down - we like to add a few more fresh-cut tomatoes to keep the stock pot full.
  5. Continue to cook down tomatoes until they become soft and fall apart at the touch
  6. At this point - we run our tomatoes through our food mill to remove the skins and seeds and squeeze out the juice. We use the tomato press because of the quantity - but for small batches - the food mill will work great.
  7. Once all the tomatoes have been run through - return the liquid into a stock pot and begin to heat through on medium to medium high heat. You want to get the tomato juice to a slow rolling boil.
  8. Let boil for 10 minutes and you are ready to can.
  9. Sterilize your pint or quart jars by running through your dishwasher - and then heat the jars and warm the lids in a separate stock pot.
  10. Add your juice to quart jars that are heated, along with a tablespoon of lemon juice. The lemon juice will not change the flavor - it is only included to help increase the acid level. Although almost all tomatoes will already be high enough in acidity for canning - it is a simple extra step to insure safety. As an optional ingredient - you can also add a half teaspoon of salt per quart jar for taste.
  11. Wipe the rim, and seal with a warm ring and lid. Process quarts in a hot water bath for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove jars and place on a towel and let cool for 24 hours before storing, Check to make sure all jars are sealed by pushing on the lid - if the lid is down and won't move it is sealed appropriately. If not - immediately place in your refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

5 thoughts on “Making Fresh Tomato Juice – A Simple Canning Recipe

  • November 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm
    Permalink

    I believe that if you use the totally flat-bottom pressure canners on the glasstop stove you will be fine. Do not use the enamel water bath canners that have ridges on the bottom. I don’t even have one of those; if I want to water bath can, I use the pressure canner without building pressure, and can also use a large kettle with one of the pressure canner disks inside. The bottoms are flat, and I don’t have another canner taking up storage room that I don’t have.

  • September 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm
    Permalink

    That’s what I do also. The juice is so thick and yummy. All I have left is the seeds in the colander when I am finished. Very little waste. I water bath mine for 15 or 20 minutes. I have done this for too many years to count!

  • July 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm
    Permalink

    I never knew of anyone pressure canning tomato juice. I always thought it wasn’t necessary because of the acid in the tomatoes. Growing up, and using the Ball and Kerr canning books, we only canned low acid foods. Anyone else learn this way, or have I been way off base all these years?

    • September 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm
      Permalink

      My mom, who has been canning tomato juice for 50 years, follows the above recipe exactly, EXCEPT that she has never pressure cooked the juice OR even water bathed it. She just fills hot jars with boiling juice and tops with hot sterilized lids and rings and sets them on the counter to cool. Very seldom does a jar not seal!

    • November 20, 2016 at 1:39 pm
      Permalink

      The new tomatoes do not have enough acid to can them safely without the addition of lemon juice or vinegar. Some home extension offices in the country say it is not necessary to use the lemon juice if you pressure can, but must always be used if you water bath can. The old-fashioned way of simply putting juice into hot jars and letting them seal is no longer considered a safe method. Current recommendations are to pressure or water bath can ALWAYS. It doesn’t matter if your mother and grandmother always did it this way, and it always sealed and nobody has ever gotten sick, it is simply not safe. I am determined that nobody is going to get sick from anything I can, so I am careful to follow all current instructions when it comes to canning. If you look at any official site on the Internet, you will discover that processing tomato juice is a necessity.

      It is also NOT necessary to sterilize jars if you process them at least 10 minutes, and there are very few things that are processed for less than that. The National Center for Home Food Preservation gives that advice on its site. The jars must be clean, and usually must be hot. I had been keeping them hot in the oven and have never had a problem (I have a small kitchen and this was the best place I found to heat them, and there are instructions for doing so on the Net), but now have found that the jar manufacturers do not recommend heating them in dry heat. I will have to find another place where I can do that. I saw a recommendation for using a large roasting pan, putting a couple of inches of water in the bottom of it, and putting the jars upside down in the roaster to keep them hot. If you are canning things that are not hot (like green beans) you don’t have to have hot jars. Just fill the jars with beans, fill them 1/3 full with boiling water (all of the jars at the same time), then go back and fill them another 1/3 full, then go around again to fill them to the correct fill line. That allows the jars to heat more slowly than just sticking them in hot water. But if you are canning hot foods, you must can them in hot jars.

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