Dedicated to All Things Gardening – DIY – Cooking – Canning & More…Intertwined with the story of building of our little farm from scratch!
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 some simple tomato juice from freshly 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!
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 a tomato press 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mary and Jim