I grew up on my mom’s canned tomato juice. All that was in the jar were garden raised tomatoes and salt. She canned it by the dozens of quarts in late summer. There was enough for our family of eight to last us through the fall, winter, and even into early spring. Besides being a great beverage, it also served as a soup base.
As an adult, I took about a 10 year break from canning tomato juice, spending most of my time canning other tomato products such as ketchup and pasta sauce. But as an adult, I discovered Bloody Marys. Since I no longer had my homemade juice, I made a trip to the grocery store. Yuck! The juice tasted of metal with no pronounced tomato flavor. Okay… switched to the popular multi-vegetable/tomato based drink. Better. But it still did not have the vibrant taste I remember from my childhood, but it also tasted of other vegetables. I liked that.
So several years ago, I set about the task of creating my own version of a tomato-based beverage with lots of other vegetables. It began with my juicer as I created approximately 16oz. creations. But when I set about the task, it was not yet tomato season. Any tomatoes that I purchased were picked green before the sugar content had a chance to develop, was gassed to turn red, and shipped over a 1,000 miles. It had no flavor, but the other veggies brought a lot to the party.
Through trial and error, I have continued to tweak this recipe. It is far superior when made with garden ripened tomatoes fresh from my own backyard or the local farmers’ market. To preserve this flavor, it means that I must can it.
10+ Tomato/Vegetable Juice
- 15 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
- 6 large stalks celery, juiced
- 8 large carrots, juiced
- 4 red bell peppers, juiced
- 1 hatch chili pepper, juiced
- 8 jalapeno peppers, juiced
- 12 – 15 large kale leaves, juiced
- 1 1/2 bunches of parsley, juiced
- 12 – 15 cloves of garlic, juiced
- 2 medium onions, juiced
- juice of 2 1/2 lemons
- salt to taste
Wash all produce. Remove peel from onions and garlic. Blanch tomatoes and run through a food mill to remove skins and seeds. Remove seeds from peppers.
Set a large pot over medium heat. Add tomato juice and pulp (with beefsteak tomatoes, there will be more juice than pulp). Juice the remaining vegetables and add their juice to the large pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add parsley and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Season with salt to taste. Note; tomatoes need salt to bring out their full flavor. If you are on a restricted salt diet, you may omit it.
Pour tomato/vegetable juice into hot, sterilized jars. Process for the appropriate length of time based on your elevation in a water bath canner.
This will make approximately 9 quarts of juice.
Now that you have captured garden fresh tomato in a jar, savor the flavor. This juice is wonderful as a base for various soups and stews. You can also enjoy it as a beverage. It is great chilled or served over ice. If you prefer a cocktail, add to your favorite Bloody Mary recipe. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with a stalk of celery. Yes, homemade is the way to go. Enjoy! Now excuse me as I make myself a drink.
NOTE: there is pulp in this juice. As a result, the pulp will begin to settle, creating a ‘watery’ appearance at the top of the jar. This is normal. It does not mean that your juice has gone bad. Before opening the jar, simply shake to redistribute the vegetable pulp.