3 Reasons YOU Should Can Tomato Juice

A few nights ago, we canned our own tomato juice. We found out that it is very efficient and easy! Discover the three reasons why you should can tomato juice every year.

Reason 1: Tomatoes are easy to grow.

You can even grow them in containers if you don’t have room for a garden! In fact, they are so easy to grow that when they are in season they will most likely produce far more than you can eat. Canning them is a perfect solution. 

Reason 2: Homegrown tomatoes taste a million times better!

I have a friend who won’t eat tomatoes. But, she’s only ever tasted store-bought tomatoes. All the tomatoes at your local grocery, even the ones that say “picked ripe,” are picked too green to eat. With time, they turn red. However, I have read that tomatoes are the only fruit that does not ripen after it has been picked. It may be red, but the tomato tastes exactly the same as it did when it was picked. Green tomatoes have virtually no taste! Ripe tomatoes, picked red just as they start to turn soft, are bursting with flavor. Once you’ve picked and eaten a ripe tomato, you will never go back!

Reason 3: There are serious health concerns with factory canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato juice.

Factory tomato cans often contain aluminum or BPA. Over time the acid in the tomatoes attacks and absorbs these dangerous chemicals, creating a toxic stew of tomatoes that were picked green, aluminum and BPA. Home-canned tomato products don’t carry any of these dangers; and tomatoes are a good ‘starter’ project for folks new to gardening and preserving. 

The Lehman Family’s Quick And Easy Tomato Juice Recipe

Here’s how we canned our tomatoes: We cut our ripe tomatoes in half, and also cut out any bad spots. We filled an 8 quart kettle with one picking of our tomatoes from just two plants. Then, we added about 1 1/2? of water and sprinkle canning salt over the tomatoes. Next, we cooked the batch on low heat for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes are ready to juice when they are soft and the skin is wrinkly.

You can also cook in jalepeno peppers, green peppers, onions or pepper to create the flavor you like. The right kind of food mill will reduce everything to a consistent juice or sauce. We make ours plain because we use it for drinking, cooking, and making sauce. We add the other flavors when we open the canning jars.

Pre-heat your jars on a sheet cake tray in the oven. Using hot jars helps to keep them from shattering when you pour in the hot juice. It also improves the chances of having a good seal. Sterilize your canning lids in boiling water, OR follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the box (some lids no longer need to be sterilized).

Slowly and carefully, pour the cooked tomatoes into a Lehman’s Weston Food Mill, avoiding splatters, as the tomatoes are hot. A food mill is one of the most amazing time savers ever invented for home canning! Once you pour the tomatoes into the funnel, turn the crank. It quickly and effortlessly separates the juice and pulp from the skin and seeds.

Lehman’s Weston Tomato Press/Food Mill saves hours when canning or preserving food! At Lehmans.com.

After you produce the juice, taste test a spoonful. (Remember, it will be HOT!) If desired, add more salt to the juice.

Add a small amount of hot juice to hot jars to minimize risk of cracking.

Remove the tray of hot jars from the oven and pour the juice through a stainless steel canning funnel into the jars. Fill within a half inch of the top.

Put on the canning lids and lid rings and tighten to just “fingertip tight.” Always use caution because everything is hot, hot, hot!

High acid foods (like tomatoes) require extra care in processing. Process your tomato juice safely in a water bath canner. Follow the canning instructions from National Center for Home Food Preservation for the proper process to can tomato juice in quarts, pints, and different altitudes listed (depending on where you live, times can vary due to altitude).

Sealed jars ready to be labeled.

After canning, remove the jars to cool. It’s best to place them on a soft surface, such as a clean dishtowel. Within 20-40 minutes the lids should “pop” down and produce a “ping,” ensuring a good seal. Do not disturb the jars until the next day. After this lengthy “setting up” period, you can remove and reuse the rings while the jars stay sealed. Any jars that did not “pop” down should be refrigerated and used immediately. After you let the jars cool, label the jars with the contents and the date you canned them.

For complete instructions on canning, you may find these books helpful:
The Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
The Joy of Pickling Book
Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze and Dry Almost Anything

Wishing you great canning success–

Galen Lehman
Galen Lehman, President, Lehman’s

Galen Lehman
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Editor’s Note: First published in August 2012. Here’s a good tutorial on using a water bath canner:

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Darren Sargent on Facebook
11 years ago

So you actually bake the full jars as opposed to processing in a water bath?

Lehman's on Facebook
11 years ago

@Darren, yes, that is correct.

Darren Sargent on Facebook
11 years ago

Are there any disadvantages to that? This is the first I have heard of baking jars (though admittedly, we are only in our second canning season).

Lehman's on Facebook
11 years ago

@Darren, the processing time is a bit longer and it is not as efficient if you are canning large quantities. This type of canning is done more for nostalgia than any benefits.

Galen Lehman on Facebook
11 years ago

In my case, it was actually more efficient to do in the oven. That’s because we were able to complete the process with 18 jars at once. This would have taken three rounds with the canner. Plus, we didn’t have to deal with dripping wet jars. Bottom line? For large quantities, oven canning may be better than water bath.

Darren Sargent on Facebook
11 years ago

Where would I find info on processing temps/times for baking vs water bath? I can definitely see how it would be much more efficient for larger batches, not to mention a little cooler, as you won’t be introducing all the humidity into the kitchen. Also, is this something that would be just used for tomato juice/sauce, etc. or is it a suitable replacement for all water bath methods?

Lehman's on Facebook
11 years ago

Darren, work with your county extension office–they’re a great source of information for new canners. We can also recommend The Ball Blue Book: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Books___Canning_and_Preserving___Ball__Blue_Book___021400#021400

6 years ago

[…] Now that you have an abundance of green beans canned for the winter, think about what you are going to can next! […]

Annette robinson
Annette robinson
2 years ago

What was the product u put in to soak pears thank you for sharing

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