Pure, homemade tomato juice can be easily canned. It’s delicious.
If you’re not a fan of store-bought tomato juice, either for its texture or taste, this may win you over. The real thing is totally different. And even if not, don’t forget tomato juice can be used as an ingredient in many recipes.
This can be a great way to deal quickly with a sudden glut of cherry tomatoes before the fruit flies get them all.
We’re going to work with the USDA Complete Guide’s recipe, looking at the Ball / Bernardin Complete book for comparison.
Quantities of tomatoes needed
Numbers are approximate guidelines.
On average, as a very rough guideline, expect to need about 1.5 kg (3.25 lbs) of tomatoes per 1 litre (US quart) jar of canned tomato juice
10 kg (23 lbs) of tomatoes = 7 litres (US quarts) canned tomato juice
6 kg (14 lbs ) of tomatoes = 9 x half-litres (US pints) canned tomato juice
1 bushel tomatoes = 24 kg (53 lbs) = 15 to 18 litres (US quarts) canned tomato juice
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Water bath or steam canning or pressure canning
Headspace: 2 cm (½ inch)
Processing time: For water bath or steam canning the times are as follows. Half-litres (pints) 35 minutes; litres (quarts) 40 minutes
- Wash tomatoes.
- Stem them, and trim off and discard bruises. Don't peel or seed or core.
- Take 6 of the tomatoes, cut into quarters and add to a large pot over high heat.
- Crush them with a potato masher or other similar tool.
- Stirring the pot frequently and keeping the heat high, continue to quarter the remaining tomatoes, adding them as you do and crushing them, so that they heat rapidly, too, and the mixture keeps on boiling, uncovered.
- When all the tomato is in, let simmer strongly for another 5 minutes.
- Pass tomato mixture through a sieve or food mill to remove skin and seeds.
- Put juice back in pot, bring back to a boil, then lower to a simmer to keep quite hot.
- MANDATORY. Acidify jars. To each half-litre/ pint jar add either 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice OR ¼ teaspoon citric acid. To each litre/quart jar add either 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice OR ½ teaspoon citric acid.
- OPTIONAL: ½ teaspoon salt per half-litre/ pint; 1 teaspoon per litre/quart jar.
- Ladle hot juice into jars.
- Leave 2 cm (½ inch) headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath or steam canner.
- Process half-litres (pints) for 35 minutes; litre (quart) jars for 40 minutes. Increase time as needed for your altitude.
Pressure canning process
The USDA also offers a pressure canning process. See here for pressure-canning tomato juice time and pressures.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
- USDA Complete calls for 2 cm (½ inch) headspace for water bathing / steam canning and pressure canning. Ball / Bernardin Complete calls for 3 cm (1 inch) headspace if you are pressure canning.
- The technique of how the tomatoes are sliced and heated is to prevent juice separation. An enzyme called ‘Pectinesterase’ is released when tomatoes are cut that causes a tomato’s liquid to separate from its solids. Heating the tomatoes as soon as they are cut destroys the enzyme before it has a chance to act, resulting in a better quality end product.
- The writers of the Ball / Bernardin Complete say, “It is very important that you reheat the tomato juice before filing the jars. Processing times are based on hot juice in a hot jar: if the juice is tepid, the processing time won’t be sufficient to vent the excess headspace gases and / or destroy spoilage microorganisms.” (Page 360.)
- If you pressure can it, Ball / Bernardin allows for the addition of a sprig of fresh herb. “Prepare as directed above, adding one well-rinsed sprig of favourite fresh herb to each jar before ladling in the hot juice.” (Page 373.) They do not mention this option in their water-bath directions.
- All home-canned tomato juice must be acidified or it’s not safe for consumption. The added acidity ensures a pH below 4.6, which prevents botulism spores from germinating.
- See a separate recipe, Tomato and Vegetable Juice Blend, if you want to add a flavouring vegetable such as celery, onion, carrot, and / or pepper. It’s in the USDA Complete Guide 3-6.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 3-5.
- Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Ball / Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto: Robert Rose. 2015. Page 360 and Page 373.
Per 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz), no salt added
- 68 calories, 18 mg sodium
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com