How to Make Tomato Juice at Home

Turn leftover tomatoes into juice

Tomato juice in glass bottle with straw
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Are you overrun with fresh tomatoes? There's no need to let them go to waste. Instead, turn them into homemade tomato juice that can be frozen or canned. You'll then be all set when soup season arrives or whenever you want a tomato-based drink like a bloody Mary. 

Ingredients

Tomatoes are the main ingredient in tomato juice and that's all you need for a basic juice. However, you'll find that it has a better taste if you season it with a little salt and black pepper.

Other spices can be added as well. Consider adding a little paprika, onion powder, celery salt, or anything in your spice rack that seems like a good fit.

If you want to make it a little spicy, cayenne or chili powder or a few drops of hot sauce will do the trick, but go easy. You can always add more spice later when you're actually going to use the juice.

Preparation

The old-fashioned way to juice tomatoes eliminates the need for a juicer. It's a relatively simple process and in the end, you'll have jars of perfectly preserved tomato juice.

Begin by washing your tomatoes, then remove the core, blossom ends, and any damaged spots. Cut the clean tomatoes into quarters and place them in a saucepan. Turn on the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until they're tender.

Press the tomatoes through a food mill, strainer, or sieve to separate the juice from the chunks of fruit. Return the resulting juice to the stove and add any seasonings you like to suit your taste.

Bring the juice to a boil to marry the flavors.

Canning Your Tomato Juice

If you're going to can the juice, sterilize your jars. Pour the juice into the jars while they're still hot and leave 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the tops and threads of the jars clean and seal them with the lids. Place the jars in a water bath canner.

 Process pint jars for 10 minutes and quart jars for 15 minutes.

Remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool on the counter overnight. Check the jars for a good seal in the morning and reprocess any that aren't sealed well.

Freezing Your Tomato Juice

Canning is the best method for food preservation, though you can also freeze tomato juice. Once the juice has cooled, simply pour it into freezer-safe containers. Make sure to leave at least one inch of headspace because it will expand as it freezes. Label the containers and store them in the freezer. The tomato juice should keep well for up to one year.

If you want to have smaller servings available, freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Once the cubes are completely frozen, transfer them into a freezer-safe plastic bag and store it in the freezer. This allows you to remove only the cubes you need and avoid thawing a whole container. The bag may also be easier to store if you have limited freezer space.

Alternatives

If you're short on time, there are alternatives to this juicing method. A good juicer that can handle multiple types of fruits can be used. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions because some models are not designed for certain fruits and vegetables.

Also, you'll need to prepare the tomatoes by removing the core.

No juicer? There are a number of tomato juice substitutes that may work just as well in your recipe. Simple things like tomato paste or sauce are easy options. You can also use your blender or food processor to create a puree that the juice can be pressed out of in a similar fashion to the method used above.