Canning Tomato Juice.
This is probably the simplest thing to can.
Not to mention – it’s fabulous! If you have had your fill of tomatoes from the garden and don’t’ feel like blanching, peeling, coring, and cooking all day – tomato juice to the rescue.
It is nothing.
There are basically 4 steps:
- Get the juice out of the tomatoes
- Cook juice on stove for 5 mintues
- Pour in Cans
- Process in water bath
Whether you are starting with whole tomatoes, or you have a gallon of juice in your refrigerator (from the salsa you made yesterday), the ending is the same – cans of fresh tomato juice from your garden. Yay!
Step 1 to Can Tomato Juice: Get Juice
You have 2 approaches to getting the juice from these tomatoes.
- You cut up a bunch of tomatoes and turn them into juice
- You just made spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce or salsa & you ended up with a gallon (or 2) of juice by blessed default.
If you are staring at a counter full of tomatoes and trying to figure out the fastest way to get them into jars that will not have you blanching, chopping and cooking all day – this will do the trick.
Here’s how to get the juice out:
- Wash, core & cut out any bad parts.
- Cut them into quarters & toss into a heavy bottomed pot
- Cook on stovetop until soft (about 30 minutes)
- Juice your tomatoes
If the juicing part scares you – don’t let it. There are more than one way to juice a tomato.
- You can use a food mill
- You can use a food processor
- You can use a strainer and a wooden spoon
It’s not hard, just squish, squash, mash until you get all that beautiful juice out of the tomatoes.
Once you have the juice out, you’ll be ready to do some canning!
I got my juice a different way……
I did not set out to can tomato juice.
After a summer of canning spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and salsa I rounded the year with 50 quarts of tomato juice. And I never “juiced” one tomato – the entire 50 quarts were just the leftover juice from making all my other tomato-based, canned goods.
I canned my whole tomatoes.
I canned my spaghetti sauce.
I canned my salsa.
I canned my pizza sauce.
I ended up with pitchers filled with tomato juice by the end of the canning marathon.
Why did I end up with gallons of tomato juice?
I don’t like the part of the spaghetti sauce recipes that say, “Cook sauce in a large pot over medium-high heat until volume is reduced by one-half.”
Reduced by one-half!
I have a cow to milk, a garden to save from fungus and 4 children who need me. I can not babysit a pot of spaghetti sauce while it cuts itself in half.
So, I make my spaghetti sauce without the juice. Go here to see how I do it.
I also don’t like watery salsa.
And, I like thick pizza sauce.
If you do it like me, you too, will have:
- Hearty, rich pizza sauce (that won’t make your crust soggy)
- Chunky, fabulous salsa
- Time to do other things besides stir sauce and
- A boat load of tomato juice.
Yipee for us!
So, I had a bunch of tomato juice.
I settled on NOT feeding it to the chickens or the pigs. Sorry, George.
I decided to “put it up.”
Step 2 to Can Tomato Juice: Cook Juice
First, I ran it through the strainer.
Then I cooked it 5 minutes. The Ball Blue Book says not to boil – just cook it at 190 degrees. Mine may have simmered for a bit, but it turned out fabulous.
Step 3 to Can Tomato Juice: Pour Juice in Jars
Then I ladled the hot juice into hot jars, added 2 tbsp lemon juice (to each quart), wiped the rims, & adjusted the lids (fingertip tight).
Step 4 to Can Tomato Juice: Process in Water Bath
Last, I submerged my jars of tomato juice in a hot-water bath and boiled it for 40 minutes.
So simple. So easy.
I have canned tomato juice!
I’m sure this will come in handy this winter when I want things like: chili, gumbo, vegetable soup, beef stew, chicken cacciatore, and Kentucky Burgoo! For detailed instructions on how to process in a hot-water bath canner go here.
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My kitchen is 85 degrees. Just in case you were wondering.
Tomato Juice Recipe (for Canning)
You can start with a pot of juice that you claimed while making spaghetti sauce, or you can juice the entire tomatoes! Tomato juice is a great way to save summers bounty. It makes great cocktails, soups, stews and bases for any tomato dish you are serving. This is a fast and easy canned good for even the first-time canner.
Wash tomatoes. Remove cores and any bad spots. Quarter and simmer in heavy bottomed pot until soft (about 30 minutes). Juice tomatoes using a food mill, food processor or a wooden spoon and a strainer. The goal is to squash all the juice out of the flesh.
Strain juice to remove any peels, seeds or chunks.
Heat juice for 5 mintues at 190 degrees.
Add 2 tbsp lemon juice to each quart jar (1 tbsp for pints). Ladle hot liquid into hot jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims & adjust lids. Process in boiling hot-water bath for 40 minutes for quarts (35 for pints).
Fun Variation: Add fresh herbs to you tomatoes during the last 5 mintues of cooking. You can also add seasonings to your taste: salt, spices, herbs, hot pepper sauce.
Disclaimer: Always follow directions specific to your equipment and elevation for canning. Dispose of any home canned goods that show signs of spoilage which can include: bulging lids, leaking, corrosion, cloudy, mushy, moldy foods or disagreeable odors.