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 in a hot water bath for 10 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
Yields 7
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Ingredients
  1. 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 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.
  11. Wipe the rim, and seal with a warm ring and lid. Process in a hot water bath for 10 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.
Notes
  1. Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms
Old World Garden Farms http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/

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

  • July 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm
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    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
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      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
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      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.

  • November 25, 2015 at 7:11 am
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    For added flavour i like to add basil in the sealed jars. Give the tomato sauce a really nice flavour.

  • October 8, 2015 at 1:38 pm
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    Did you process in a pressure canner for 10 minutes or water bath? 10 minutes does not sound safe.

    • October 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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      Hi Charlie – due to the newest home preservation guidelines, we actually pressure can with 10 lbs of pressure for 15 minutes. You can water bath for 40 minutes if desired.

  • September 2, 2015 at 4:43 pm
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    I am ready to can the tomato juice, but if i have a tomato machine, which cleans skins and seeds, do I still need to cook them first as per recipe? Could I juice the tomato, using the special machine, and then boil the juice, and proceed with the pressure canner?
    Thanks

    • September 3, 2015 at 11:36 am
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      You could definitely do this Rima, however we find that if you cut our tomatoes and heat them first – before putting them through the machine, that you will actually make more juice. But either way is fine! Thanks

      • September 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm
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        One more issue: I pressure canned the tomato juice, and my juice became separated! I got this yellow water at the bottom. What did I do incorrectly? Or is it ok?

        • September 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm
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          Rima – it is totally ok and natural to have separation when you pressure can it. Once you are ready to use it, shake the jar lightly to mix and it will be ready to use!

    • September 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm
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      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!

  • October 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm
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    I usually peel the skin of fist. blanch in hot water and then ice. then I don’t have to worry about all the blemishes. is this ok.

  • October 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm
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    used your canning method it was great going to try some of your other canning ideas hope they r as good as this one

  • August 24, 2014 at 8:50 am
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    My first time ever canning and I’m a little confused on one thing. Do you add water or some other type liquid or are you just boiling tomatoes only?

    • August 24, 2014 at 9:13 am
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      You just boil the tomatoes – the tomatoes will produce their own juice. We usually start with a low-medium heat to get the juices flowing and then increase the heat to medium, stirring frequently. Hope this helps and good luck!

  • August 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm
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    We add peppers (hot and mild) kale, carrots, celery, garlic, onions, etc to make more of a “V8” type juice.

  • July 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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    Can you use blender and strainer to juice tomatoes

    • July 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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      You can – if you get a fine enough strainer they will easily take out the seeds and skins

  • August 16, 2013 at 11:59 am
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    The tomato press intrigues me since I don’t have one. I do however have a Norpro juicer and was planning on using it for tomato paste and perhaps even tomato juice this year. I want to mention that removing the rings on your jars for storage is a good idea. Removing them increases their longevity because they won’t rust from moisture being caught between the jar and the ring. For jars that contain peaches, the rings should be removed anyway so the threaded area of the jar can be washed to remove the stickiness to not attract pests.

  • August 16, 2013 at 10:43 am
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    Can’t WAIT to start my canning!!! Hoping the weather heats up soon so my green tomatoes finally turn red.
    It looks in the picture like you have a glass top stove. Wondering – do you use a pressure canner for other items on your glass top stove? I have a glass top and am so scared to get a pressure canner because I’ve heard they can’t get hot enough to hold the pressure, or the stove top could shatter fromt he heat/weight. Thoughts?
    Thanks so much for sharing what you do. I have a very simliar dream to what you mention. I hope to get much closer to it, but it will take quite a while at the current rate, so it is nice to live vicariously thru your blog. Have a great weekend on the farm!!

    • August 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm
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      I have a glass top stove and have been canning on it for 6 years. Each year I can about 200 jars and all I use is a pressure canner. I don’t have any problem with the stove and the stovetop hasn’t cracked.

    • August 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm
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      We have always had good success on the glass top – and never had any problems holding the heat and the pressure – and we can a lot on it! Thank you so much for the compliments on the blog and our little farm – we really enjoy being able to tell our story and have fun on the farm! Good luck on your dreams as well – and have fun along the way to getting them! Jim and Mary

    • November 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm
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      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.

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