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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Home Canned Tomato Juice

Yesterday I canned a hamper of tomatoes in the form of tomato juice. The first question is always why until you taste it. Tomato juice is usually inexpensive here going for about 99 cents for a 48 ounce can (2 cents per ounce) of the store brand. I get my tomatoes free but if I had to buy at the going rate of $8 per hamper my juice works out to 2 cents per ounce figuring in the electricity, essentially the same. My actual cost for 448 ounces was 0.003 cents per ounce. This would be the similar cost for anyone who grows their own tomatoes without the cost to produce those tomatoes, something that should always be considered when growing a vegetable garden. The biggest consideration with home canned tomato juice is not the cost but the taste! It has a nice, clean, garden fresh tomato flavour with none of the tinny off flavour of commercially canned tomato juice.

Food Mill

A food mill is essential for making smooth sauces and juices. I use a Kitchen Value (Home Hardware brand) manual food mill but will soon be switching to the equivalent Kitchen Aid attachment. A food mill removes the peels and seeds making quick work for juicing. The mill attaches to the countertop. Food is fed into the hopper (not shown) then a handle in turned so that the seeds and skins go out the waste shoot (behind) while the juice comes down another shoot into the collecting pan (front). A more detailed picture of the food mill can be found on a previous blog entry here.

Making tomato juice is easy but has a little twist. Tomatoes contain a high level of pectase that is activated when tomatoes are cut. This can lead to separation during storage. To reduce this the tomatoes have to be heated quickly on high heat to destroy the enzyme. When making tomato juice a layer of cut tomatoes is brought to a boil then additional tomatoes are added, crushing them into the mixture until all the tomatoes are heated. The mixture is then brought to a boil, removed from the heat and put through a food mill.

Tomato Juice

An average of 3 lbs of tomatoes is needed to make 1 L (about 1 quart) of juice. Choose a juicing tomato if possible. Other varieties will work but you will get far less juice out of a paste tomato. If you grow your own consider making juice from yellow tomatoes as well.

I made 14 lovely jars (L & quarts) of tomato juice yesterday. The work was easy enough but a bit drawn out but some of that was due to getting used to the new kitchen. Despite my plans, I didn't start the actual canning process until early evening then had to run the canner twice for processing as it only holds 7 L jars when used as a boiling water bath. So that meant I didn't get my mushroom soup canned but that will likely be today's project along with canning carmelized onions so watch for both of those coming soon.

Home Canned Tomato Juice
recipe for 1 L (quart) jars

3 lb tomatoes per L (quart) jar
2 tbsp lemon juice per jar or 1/2 tsp citric acid
1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Determine how many jars you want to process. My canner holds 7 L or quarts when used for boiling water bath canning. Weight out your tomatoes then wash. Cut into halves or quarters. Start with a layer of tomatoes in a large stainless steel stock pot. Bring to a boil on high heat then add more tomatoes (lg bowl full) at a time to mix in. Continue doing this until all the tomatoes have been added. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Run the mixture through a food mill. Return the juice to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Pour into hot, sterilized litre or quart jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 12 tbsp lemon juice or 1/2 tsp citric acid per jar. Add salt if desired. Wipe the rim and cap. Process 40 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

1 food lovers commented:

urbanfarmgirl said...

Hi, I am canning for the first time since helping my mom as a kid. Her recipe from blue ball states to simmer but not to boil the tomatoes, but all of the online recipes, including yours, states the opposite. I'm confused. Do I actually have to boil or is a good simmer just as good. Hers says to use a thermometer and only get them to 190 degrees. You seem to have the closest set up to what she did.