I was really hoping to do another step by step process in my IG stories to show everyone how easy it is to can tomato juice, but the tomatoes in my Grandma’s garden decided not to cooperate with my schedule this year…pretty rude if you ask me. My Grandma was able to can some juice and open kettle tomatoes (that’s what pictured above and right below), but by last weekend when we had planned to can together, the tomatoes decided to start splitting and rotting! Fortunately, I did write a tomato canning post on my first blog so I simply grabbed some old photos (ho hum) so I can at least share the process with y’all here! And if you did check my Instagram Stories out over the weekend you know we did still can, just with roma tomatoes from the farmer’s market to make salsa, and my parents and hubby joined in on the fun so it was a win win.
I really do encourage you to take up canning if it’s not something you do already! You don’t even have to garden! Buying fruits and vegetables in bulk at a local market for canning is a great way to save money in the long run and enjoy fresh and healthy foods all year. Plus, you have such a great resource to reference as you learn the process hands on in your kitchen! …my blog…I’m talking about my blog 🙂 So let’s move on from green beans and learn how to can tomato juice. At minimum, you’ll impress your older family members! Instructions and cooking times below are based on quarts, not pints!
1. Pick, clean and slice your tomatoes
- If you’re lucky enough to have tomatoes growing in your own garden, collect the ripe ones when you have plenty ready to be picked and begin your prep work with a rinse or soak of the tomatoes.
- If you don’t have access to a garden, try buying your tomatoes from a local farmer’s market for best quality and taste!
- Next, begin slicing your tomatoes and adding them to a large kettle. This part will be time consuming for beginners. Or at least that’s what I found to be true 🙂 If you cut the tomato in half, take out out the core and continue slicing from there it becomes a fairly smooth process!
2. Cook your tomatoes!
- Once all tomatoes are sliced, add your kettle to the stove and allow your tomatoes to reach a rolling boil. Cook for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally, and enjoy the aroma filling your kitchen!
- Stirring will become much easier as the tomatoes cook!
- Once your tomatoes are cooked, carefully remove the kettle from the stove and set it on a heat resistant surface next to your sink. You’ll want a medium sized pot and a strainer with a stand sitting in your sink.
3. Strain your tomato juice
- The pictured set up is similar to a mortar and pestle you’d use for mashing and grinding herbs, seeds, etc; in this case, we want the pestle for straining to create smooth tomato juice.
- Add a small amount of cooked tomatoes to the strainer and take the mortar around clockwise to squeeze out all the juice. Rather than holding the mortar, keep it in the palm of your hand as you go around and around.
- As the tomato inside begins to dry out, mash as needed to get your last bit of juice and scrape the excess scraps off the mortar into a bowl.
- Once your medium sized pot in the sink is full, pour the juice into a new large pot. Repeat the straining process until all cooked tomatoes are used and added to your new pot ready for one last boil.
4. Cook your tomato juice!
- Add your kettle of tomato juice to the stove over high heat and allow it to reach a boil again.
- After the tomato juice reaches a rolling boil, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue to enjoy the best aroma in your kitchen. I LOVE the smell of tomatoes cooking.
5. Prep your jars and lids
- While your juice is cooking, preheat your oven to 200 degrees and add your quart sized jars to the rack inside for sterilizing.
- They can remain in the oven for 10-15 minutes. At the same time, your lids can be sterilizing in a small saucepan of boiling water on the stove.
6. Can your tomato juice!
- Now that your tomato juice is cooked and jars and lids are sterilized you can begin the actual canning. We got four jars out of the oven at a time to work with; use pot holders to remove them and be sure to work on a heat resistant surface.
- Add one teaspoon of salt to each jar, place a funnel over the rim of the jar and begin pouring in your cooked tomato juice filling to the neck of the jar.
7. CLEAN THE RIM OF EACH JAR!
- I don’t mean to yell, but you cannot forget this part!! Before adding the lid to your jar, wipe the rim with a clean paper towel ensuring it’s free from any juice or salt! Debris on the rim can prevent proper sealing!
- Add your lids and rings and tighten well.
- Once you’ve repeated this step with all jars, you’re done!
- Let your jars cool completely and listen for them to pop to let you know the process is fully complete! To stay organized, use a permanent marker to add the date to each lid before storing in a cool, dark place.
Favorite uses for this delicious tomato juice:
- Poured over stuffed peppers and cabbage rolls to be baked in the oven
- In place of broth when slow cooking meats
- In place of spaghetti sauce for a light pasta dish – cook your spaghetti and drain, add tomato juice and cook to heat, dish up and top with Parmesan cheese! So simple and tasty!
- Open kettle canned tomatoes are great for soups, chili and hot sauce (rice dish)
Canning Instructions for Open Kettle (sorry, no photos for this part, but wanted to include the basic information so you know how to can both versions!)
- Scold tomatoes in boiling water on the stove for 1-2 minutes to loosen the skin.
- Transfer the tomatoes to cold water. Peel, remove the seeds and cut up into medium sized chunks.
- Add cut tomatoes to a large kettle on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil. Once they reach a rolling boil, cook 20 – 30 minutes. Stir often!
- Add one teaspoon of salt to each jar, pour in tomatoes, CLEAN THE RIMS 🙂 and add your lids and rings. Tighten and allow to cool on a heat resistant surface.
Canning Materials needed for tomato juice:
- 2 large cooking kettles
- 1 medium sized pot
- 1 small saucepan
- 1 strainer with stand and mortar
- Jars, lids and rings
If you have any specific questions, please post them in the comments and I’ll get back to you!
Have a beautiful day!