How to Make and Freez Tomato Juice - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: April 2017: Stored US apples are still available. See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops.
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And we have home canning, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! Also make your own ice cream; see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy directions
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How to Make and Freeze Tomato Juice at Home - Easily!Mixed tomato-vegetable juice (like "V8") see this page.
- Tomatoes (any quantity - see step one)
- Lemon Juice (optional) (less than a cup)
- Salt - (optional) 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice.
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)-
Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is
available online - see this page. It's a tremendously useful to
put jars in the canner and take the hot jars out (without scalding
yourself!). The kit sold below has everything you need, and at a pretty
- At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
- Large spoons and ladles
- Freezer containers (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores
Step 1 - Selecting the tomatoes
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality tomatoes!
Wash, remove stems, and trim off bruised or discolored portions of the tomatoes.
Quantity: An average of 23 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts, or an average of 14 pounds per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs about 53 pounds and yields 15 to 18 quarts of juice - an average of 3¼ pounds per quart.
At right is a picture of tomatoes from my garden - they are so much better than anything from the grocery store. And if you don't have enough, a pick-your-own farm is the pace to go! At right are 4 common varieties that will work:
|Top left: Beefsteak||Top right: Lemon Boy, yellow|
|Bottom left: Roma, paste-type||Bottom right: Better Boy|
Also, you don't want mushy, bruised or rotten tomatoes!
Caution: Do not use tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. Green tomatoes are more acidic than ripened fruit and can be canned safely, also.
Step 2 - Cut up the tomatoes and quickly put into the pot
To prevent the juice from separating, quickly cut about 1 pound of tomatoes at a time into quarters and put directly into a saucepan on the stove. (If you are not concerned about juice separation, simply slice or quarter all of the tomatoes at once into a large saucepan.)
Juicers? Can you use a juicer? Certainly! It will eliminate step 6 and 7 later on, but, of course, you will need to simmer for 5 minutes (step 5). The one potential downside to using a juicer is that the juice may later separate (clarify) into a top and bottom portion, for the reasons already explained above.
Step 3 - Heat to boiling and keep adding tomatoes
Heat immediately to boiling while crushing (I use a potato masher). Continue to slowly add and crush freshly cut tomato quarters to the boiling mixture; repeating steps 4 and 5. Make sure the mixture boils constantly and vigorously while you add the remaining tomatoes.
Step 4 - Continue cooking
Simmer 5 minutes after you add all pieces. Crush, heat, and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing.
Step 5 - Sieve
Press the heated tomato juice through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. I use the Foley food mill, shown at right
There is also a VERY nice, versatile strainer pictured at below! Click on the links there or see the bottom of this page for more information and to order! The VillaWare model can handle higher volumes than a Foley food mill (without giving you cramps!) And yes, you can use your juicer, if it can handle boiling hot liquids!
To see a greater variety of strainers in other types, sizes, and prices, click here!
Step 6 - Add seasoning
You may add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars, as described in the next paragraph, to acidify the contents. This helps avoid spoilage and increase safety. this is really a precaution
Acidification: To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (such as "Fruit Fresh") per quart of tomatoes. For pints, use one tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid. Acid can be added directly to the containers before filling with product. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to offset acid taste, if desired. Four tablespoons of a 5 percent acidity vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. However, vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes, compared with lemon juice or citric acid.
Seasoning: Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart, if desired. I also add 1 teaspoon of ground basil.
Step 7 - Fill the containers and pop into the freezer
You may want to let the juice cool down a bit for an hour before you fill containers and put it into the freezer.
Home Canning Kits
* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner and "Ball Blue Book" of canning.
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and
lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting
wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning,
the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately.
You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are
reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes).
To see more canners, of
different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Average Customer Review:
Preserving for Dummies
The Ball Blue Book of Preserving
This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child. It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc. If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)
Summary - Typical Cost of Making Homemade Jam - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2006||Source||Subtotal|
|Berries (strawberries)||1 gallon||$8.00/gallon||Pick your own||$8.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||18 jars||$7.00/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$10.00|
|Sugar||4 cups||$2.00||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.00|
|Pectin (low sugar, dry)||1 and a third boxes *||$2.00 per box||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.70|
or about $1.25 per jar
* pectin use varies - blackberry jam needs very little, raspberry a
little more, strawberry the most. |
** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars and reduce the cost further; just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!
Can't find the equipment? We ship to all 50 states!
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FAQs - Answers to Common Questions
As my jars are cooling after i take them out of the canner, they sometimes make a popping or hissing noise. Is this normal and safe?
Yes, the lids are designed to flex and that's actually a key selling point. You can tell if a jar hasn't sealed properly (after it has cooled completely) if the lid flexes and makes a popping sound when you press the center of the lid with your finger. The popping sounds while it is cooling is the lid being sucked down by the vacuum that is forming inside the jar - which a normal part of the sealing process. Hissing sounds are usually just escaping steam or hot water evaporating on hot surfaces, also normal!
- Why should cooked jelly be made in small batches?
If a larger quantity of juice is used, it will be necessary to boil it longer thus causing loss of flavor, darkening of jelly, and toughening of jelly. It really doesn't work. Trust me; I've tried many times!
- Can I use
frozen berries instead of fresh?
Yep! Raspberries can be particularly hard to find fresh and are expensive! Frozen berries work just fine, and measure the same. Just be sure to get the loose, frozen whole fruit; not those that have been mushed up or frozen in a sugar syrup!
- Should jelly be boiled slowly or
It should be boiled rapidly since long, slow boiling destroys the pectin in the fruit juice.
What do I do if there's mold on my jam, jelly or preserves?
Discard jams and jellies with mold on them. The mold could be producing a mycotoxin (poisonous substance that can make you sick). USDA and microbiologists recommend against scooping out the mold and using the remaining jam or jelly. See this page from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service for more information. (and this page for a pdf version)
did my jellied fruit product ferment, and what do I do?
Jellied fruit products may ferment because of yeast growth. This can occur if the product is improperly processed and sealed, or if the sugar content is low. Fermented fruit products have a disagreeable taste. Discard them.
- What happens if my jam
or jelly doesn't gel?
Remaking cooked runny jam or jelly instructions can be found on this page
- What is the best way to deseed berries for jam? I heard a few different
ways. A food mill, a ricer, and cheese cloth.
For large seeds (blackberries, apples, and larger) I find a Foley Food Mill works best - it's certainly faster and easier than the other methods. Raspberry and smaller seeds are a real pain. They get stuck in (and clog) or pass through a food mill. The Villaware mill has a smaller screen that works great for them! See this page for more information about both strainers. Cheesecloth and jelly strainers are messy, take forever and you lose most of the pulp. For these, I find a metal sieve or colander (with small enough holes) and a spatula to help mush them and push the pulp through, is best. Also, heating the mushed up berries almost to boiling really helps to separate the seeds and pulp.
- Click here to see our complete list of frequently asked questions on this page!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]