Monday, September 3, 2012

Canning Tomato Juice

One of my very favorite times of the year is when the tomatoes from the garden are ripe and ready to go! What I love even more than that are all of the delicious things that can be made with them! Growing up we had a staple in our family.... macaroni in tomato juice. Our grandparents would can quarts and quarts of them so they could distribute it among their kids and grand kids. Now having a family and a garden of my own I have found that this tomato juice is not only good for one of my favorite dishes ever, but can be used in many other things as well. My Mom even liked drinking it straight from the jar! The best part about making this is that you need very few ingredients and although it takes some cutting and some simmering it is really quite easy to make.

Before you start you will need:

Tomatoes (the more you have the more quarts you will end up with, but I even do small batches when there aren't too many ripe yet)
Lemon juice
Water bath canner or steam canner
Jar lids
Stock pot(s)
Juicer/food press

First you will need to wash the tomatoes and cut out any bad pieces and then quarter them.

Fill the stock pot all the way to the brim, it will cook down as it goes.

 Cover and simmer over medium heat until the skins start coming off the tomatoes and it starts looking "juicy!" Make sure if you have a stockpot with a thinner bottom that you watch and stir more often since it can burn easier. You will want to stir it occasionally anyway to distribute heat and to make sure it doesn't burn.

Ladle the tomatoes into the juicer of your choice (this one is a favorite in our family) and get all the juice out that you can. The more you strain, the more pulp your juice is going to have.

Measure your juice as you return it to the stockpot. I have used various ways of keeping track of how many quarts I have such as keeping a notebook and pen nearby or using the legos on the floor to make a little pile representing each quart! Now for each quart you will add 1 teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring just to a boil.

In the meantime stick your jar lids into some water, bring it to a boil and then turn it off and let them sit there until you are ready to use them.

Fill your hot, sterilized jars with the tomato juice leaving a half an inch space at the top.

Make sure to tighten a ring around the top of the jar to hold the lids in place. If you are using the water bath method you will want to stick the jars into enough water that it is covering them about an inch. As soon as the water starts boiling, cover the canner and process for 15 minutes. If you are using the steam canner (which is different from a pressure cooker), fill the bottom part with an inch or so of water and stick the jars on the rack.

Cover and turn your stove on high. As soon as the steam starts coming steadily out of the little holes on the side, set the timer and process for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and set them on a flat surface for 24 hours or until they are all sealed.

Time to enjoy! You can add it to a bowl of macaroni, thicken it up for tomato soup, thicken it even more for a sauce, or enjoy it cold over a nice cup of ice!


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1 comment:

  1. Yum. This is one of my favorite things in the world. Thanks for all the steps and pictures. I'll be using it one of these days.


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