How to prepare tomato juice at home

With the right equipment, preparing tomato juice is a simple process.

Preparing tomato juice is a simple process with the right equipment and a research-based recipe to follow. Tomato juice can be processed in either a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner, but the biggest concern related to canning tomato products is the acidification process. Regardless of the canning process, it is best practice to acidify tomatoes when canning, yet many home preservers aren’t sure how to acidify their tomatoes, while others are not even aware of the recommendation.

Michigan State University Extension recommends ensuring the safe acidity in whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes, adding two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid 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 jars before filling with the tomato product.

To prepare the tomatoes into tomato juice, follow these steps:

  • Wash tomatoes and remove stems
  • Cut tomatoes into quarters and put directly into saucepan and bring to boil while crushing the tomatoes.
  • Continue to slowly add and crush the cut tomato quarters to the boiling mixture, and make sure the mixture boils constantly and vigorously while you add the remaining tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes after adding all tomatoes.
  • Press heated juice through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds.
  • Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars to acidify, as described in the previous paragraph.
  • Heat juice again to boiling.
  • Add one teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired.
  • Fill jars with hot tomato juice, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath canner, pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes. Using a dial-gauge pressure canner, process pints or quarts for 20 minutes at 6 pounds of pressure or 15 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.

Tomato juice can also be frozen by following recommendations from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

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