Food

Water Bath Canned Tomato Juice

BY Stephanie Thurow TIMEAugust 22, 2022 PRINT

Serve this juice over ice for a refreshing beverage, or use it as the base for Bloody Marys, soups, simmer sauces, or even chili.

For safe canning, you must acidify each canned jar with the proper amount of either bottled lemon juice or citric acid. If you’re not familiar with water bath canning, you can find resources from the National Center for Home Food Preservation at NCHFP.uga.edu.

Makes 3 pints

  • 5 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered (about 8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped peppers of your choice (bell pepper for mild flavor, jalapeños or hotter for spice)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, divided
  • 9 teaspoons canning salt or sea salt, divided (optional)

Prepare three 1-pint canning jars by washing with warm, soapy water. Keep warm until ready to fill. Prepare a hot water bath.

Wash the tomatoes and remove stems, cores, and any bruised or flawed areas. In a large non-reactive pot, combine the tomatoes, chopped vegetables, and parsley. Use a potato masher to somewhat break down the tomatoes. Bring the ingredients to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are more broken down and the vegetables have softened.

Remove from heat and use a food mill to remove seeds and skins. If you don’t have a food mill, use an immersion hand blender to puree the mixture. Then, working in batches, use a fine mesh strainer with a bowl or large measuring cup underneath to separate the juice from the solids. Pour the tomato juice into a non-reactive saucepan and bring it to a boil.

Once the juice is hot, ladle into warm prepared jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace (room from the top of the jam to the rim of the jar). To each jar, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 teaspoons salt (optional). Wipe the rims of the jars clean and place the canning lids on the jars. Screw the rings on the jars until they’re fingertip tight: just snug on the jar, not fully tightened.

Carefully lower the jars into a hot water bath, making sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water (add more boiling water if needed), and cover with the lid. Turn the heat to high, and once the water begins a rolling boil, set the timer and process in the water bath for 35 minutes. Adjust cook time for altitude as needed.

Once water bath processed, carefully remove the jars from the hot pot with canning tongs. Place the jars on a towel-lined surface and let rest for 24 hours without touching. After 24 hours, remove the jar rings and test to make sure that the lids have securely sealed onto the jars. Label and date the jars. These preserved jars will keep for at least one year in the cupboard. Refrigerate after breaking the seal.

Recipe Note: If you decide to can this juice in a quart jar instead of pints, you must adjust the recipe to include 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar, and water bath process for 40 minutes (or longer, depending on altitude).

Stephanie Thurow is the author of “Can It and Ferment It,” “WECK Small-Batch Preserving,” “WECK Home Preserving,” and the forthcoming "Small-Scale Homesteading" (Feb. 2023). She is a Certified Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener Volunteer. She writes and teaches about food preservation and urban homesteading. Find her at MinnesotaFromScratch.com and on Instagram @minnesotafromscratch
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