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How to Make and Freez Tomato Juice - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs

How to Make and Freeze Tomato Juice at Home - Easily!

Click here for a PDF print version

Making and freezing your own tomato juice is also quite easy.  And imagine how much better it will taste in the winter, with the flavor of home grown tomatoes! Just scroll down this page to see how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated.  I like it with the basil, but you can also make plain tomato juice, too.  If you want to make a Mixed tomato-vegetable juice (like "V8") see this page.

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes (any quantity - see step one)
  • Lemon Juice (optional) (less than a cup)
  • Salt - (optional) 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice.

Equipment

  • Jar funnel ($5 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 good price:
  • At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Nonstick ceramic coated pots for easy cleanup.
  • Large spoons and ladles,
  • Freezer containers (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores

Directions

Different types of tomatoes

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 31/4 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 - SieveFoley food mill

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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

Canning Books, Supplies and Accessories

These are my favorite essential canning tools, books and supplies. I've been using many of these for over 50 years of canning! The ones below on this page are just the sampling of. my preferred tools. but you can find much more detailed and extensive selections on the pages that are linked below.

The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes Paperback

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)The New Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving

Canning and Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward

This is another popular canning book. Click here for more information, reviews, prices for Canning and Preserving For Dummies

Of course, you do not need to buy ANY canning book as I have about 500 canning, freezing, dehydrating and more recipes all online for free, just see Easy Home Canning Directions.

Home Canning Kits


I have several canners, and my favorite is the stainless steel one at right. It is easy to clean and seems like it will last forever. Mine is 10 years old and looks like new.

The black ones are 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,  It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. It's only missing the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book.

You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!

The complete list of canners is on these pages:

 

Pressure Canners

If you plan on canning non-acidic foods and low acid foods that are not pickled - this means: meats, seafood, soups, green beans corn, most vegetables, etc., then you ABSOLUTELY must use a Pressure Canner.

Of course, you can use a pressure canner as a water bath canner as well - just don't seal it up, so it does not pressurize. This means a Pressure Canner is a 2-in-1 device. With it, you can can almost ANYTHING.

There are also other supplies, accessories, tools and more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!

Basic Canning Accessories

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter - to remove lids from the pot of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lids- disposable - you may only use them once
  4. Ring - holds the lids on the jar until after the jars cool - then you remove them, save them and reuse them
  5. Canning Jar funnel - to fill the jars

Strainers

These are very useful for making sauces like applesauce, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, jellies, etc. Below are my favorites. The complete list is on these pages:

Inexpensive Old School Strainers: hand cranked Foley Food Mills

  • The hand-cranked Foley food mill (see this page or clock the ad box) has been used for well over 100 years in homes all over America (and variants around the world). It is effective and inexpensive, and ideal for small batches.  However, if you need to make many quarts, you will sure end up with tunnel carpel syndrome or some other repetitive strain injury.

Norpro 1951 Manual Food Strainer and other brand stariners, with optional motors; (almost identical to Victorio V250, Villaware and Roma models, all discontinued)

This is The next step up from the Foley food mill. First, it's far more ergonomic, and its handle is easier to use. Next, it works in continuous mode rather than batch mode. So you can do much larger volumes easily. Finally, It has an optional motor, so you can. remove the manual labor.  It also offers many different size strainers to use for different types of berries, vegetables and fruit.

See the seller's website for more information, features, pricing and user reviews!

KitchenAid - Best Large Volume Strainers

If you're going to do large volumes of fruit or vegetables , or do it year after year, then. you really should think about getting a higher end kitchen. utility device. Kitchen aids are the cream of the crop. Once you buy one of these, you keep at the rest of your life and it gets handed down to the next generation. . My sister is using one she inherited from my mother 25 years ago, who got it in the 1940s as a wedding gift. So, although the initial cost is high, they literally last for many lifetime. So the cost on an annual basis is pretty trivial, especially when you consider the cost of therapy and treatment for. the repetitive strain injuries you will get from manual cranking day after day. Add to that of course the cost of therapy for the emotional injuries you'll get from going insane, standing there hand cranking something for hours.

KitchenAid's with a sieve/grinder (with the attachments, costs about $400, but it lasts a lifetime and is fast and easy to use - I can make 100 quart jars of applesauce per day with one of these).

 

FREE Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

Don't spend money on books. that you don't need to. Almost everything you can find in some book sold online or in a store is on my website here for free. Start with theEasy Home Canning Directions below. That is a master list of canning directions which are all based upon the Ball Bblue book, the National Center for Home Food Preservation and other reputable lab tested recipes. Almost every recipe I present in addition to being lab tested com. is in a step by step format with photos for each step and complete. explanations. that tell you how to do it, where to get the supplies and pretty much everything you need to know. In addition, there almost always in a PDF format so you can print them out and use them while you cook.

[ Easy Home Canning Directions]

[FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems]

[Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!]

[Free canning publications to download and print]