Paste! Sauce! Chili! Bloody Marys! …It All Starts With Juice!!
Homemade tomato juice is the base for a ton of recipes that are the backbone of many household kitchens. But if you buy organic and in glass, it can be very pricey. Why do that? Don’t be talked into thinking you have to buy something as basic to your family’s table and nutrition from a food factory. We saved over $1000.00 by making our own tomato juice and paste.
When you are buying in large quantities for canning projects, you can get great bulk rates. Our first choice is to buy from local organic family farmers. Your food co-op may be sourcing local organic products OR they may by buying from large corporate farms using organic methods. You need to ask. The bottom line is, when you buy from a co-op or grocery store, you are adding a middle man which will add to your overall cost.
When you have homemade tomato juice and paste in your pantry, you have half of the ingredients for supper without stepping out of your kitchen. In a pinch, with onion, any other vegetable you have on hand, and a little pasta you’ve got a delicious nutritious meal for a couple of bucks. Now that puts a grin on your face!
For more information on buying locally grown, organic tomatoes go to our post: “Save Money Buying Organic? It’s Easy. Connect With Local Farmers.”
Here’s What Ya Do First!
Get a cooking buddy. It’s a lot more fun if you have a fellow foodie with which to share your cooking projects. Avoid a whiner, as in someone who is constantly second guessing as to whether the effort is “really worth it”, you’d be better off by yourself. Find someone passionate about “from scratch” cooking for family and friends.
Working alone can be satisfying, but working with a like minded partner turns the work into a kind of creative play and you have someone with whom to discuss what went right or wrong, what you would do differently next time, conduct taste tests and celebrate the beginning and the ending of the project. So, go find a worthy partner!
GET THE EQUIPMENT
We don’t “water bath can” our tomato juice but we do “steam juice”.
Working in our clean home kitchen, filling hot jars with steaming hot juice directly from the Steam Juicer, placing the lids that have been boiled onto the jars; thereby achieving a vacuum seal, the hot water bath is not needed.
The equipment list bellow for this homemade tomato juice project can be used over and over for a myriad of canning projects (grape juice, pear nectar, apple juice, apricot nectar etc.). The Steam Juicer can also be used in daily cooking for steaming vegetables and making vegetable stock.
Use our links to pick up any equipment you need and you will support our blog at the same time!
Stainless Steel Steamer Juicer – the most efficient juicing method that we have found for canning purposes
Hand Held Stainless Steel Immersion Blender – used for mashing and blending the steaming tomatoes, extracting the most juice possible
Wide Mouth Quart Canning Jars Lids and Rings – we use quart canning jars, don’t use recycled pickle, mayonnaise or other commercial jars that have a seam. Note: This link gives you the choice to select and purchase quart jars, pint jars and 1/2 gallon jars.
Large Stainless Steel 12-Quart Stockpot – in which to put quartered tomatoes waiting for the steamer
Sauce Pot – for heating lids and rings
Silicone Tube E-Z-Roll Garlic Peeler – Your gonna to peel lots of garlic and a Silicone Garlic Peeler works wonders
Paring Knife Set, 3-Piece – for quartering tomatoes. This Wusthof set is a reasonable quality for the price and you can always use good paring knives in your kitchen.
A couple of clean lint free 100% Cotton Tea Towels to cover hot jars
Lint free dish cloths (freshly clean) – for wiping the rim of the jar before putting on the lid and ring
Large Containers – Our favorite is a Stainless Steel 12 Quart Multi Roaster with Lid, for the pulp that is left (save the pulp to make our delicious tomato paste). This is our favorite because it is flat and large and cools the tomato pulp faster. Also, having a quality roaster is a work horse in active, cooking from scratch kitchen.
GET THE INGREDIENTS:
We use organic:
- kosher or canning salt (not iodized).
- Like spicy? Add you favorite dried peppers.
See the details in Homemade Tomato Juice – Part 2: Turning Tomatoes Into Juice
Locally sourced, field ripened, organic tomatoes are best. Sometimes you can also buy garlic from your tomato farmer.
For ideas on how to buy local tomatoes see our post: Save money buying organic? It’s easy. Connect with local farmers.
PREPARE THE KITCHEN
This is easy but important. We wash down all surfaces with soapy vinegar water and scrub out the sink in which we will be washing the tomatoes. We don’t mix canning projects and baking projects using yeast. Save any yeast project for another day and remove any starters as in sour dough etc. from the kitchen.
We wash our jars, by themselves, in the dishwasher. If they have cooled we put them in the oven at 150 degrees. That keeps them hot and dry and we remove them as they are being used, restocking the oven in between batches of juice. Wash the rings and lids in hot soapy water. Place enough lids and rings for the first batch in a smaller pot, bring to a boil and leave on simmer until ready to use. One steamer load of tomatoes usually makes 7 to 8 jars of juice.
So, your kitchen is clean and ready for action. You have your equipment assembled. You’re ready to turn tomatoes into Juice and Paste! – Let’s Make Tomato Juice! Part 2: Turning Tomatoes Into Juice.