Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tomato Juice - yes, you can make your own

When tomatoes get really cheap at the farmer's market, it's hard NOT to over-buy. And then the next week they look even better and they're cheaper. And you buy more, even though you've got a half-dozen tomatoes on the counter.

And then what?

Tomato sauce is an option, but what about tomato juice?

I'm not talking about juicing tomatoes, I'm talking about something that tastes like bottled tomato juice. You realize that's a cooked product, right?

But this juice will taste fresher than bottled tomato juice. You know why? Because sometimes tomato juice is made from concentrate - meaning tomato paste. That's right. It's reduced all the way down to paste, and then water is added back. I have no idea why, but that's how many tomato juices are made.


So when you make your own tomato juice, you cook it just as long as it needs to be cooked to reduce to the consistency you like. It's cooked for a shorter time, so it tastes fresher.

When you're cooking tomatoes to make sauce or juice, you've got a couple options. You can blanch the tomatoes and peel them, or you can cook the tomatoes first, then run them through a food mill, or you can blend them first, then cook them, then run them through a strainer to get rid of the seeds and bits of skin,

Any of those methods work, it just depends on what you want to do and what equipment you have. And you can make as much or as little juice as you like. This makes about a quart of juice.

As far as the tomatoes, I used standard tomatoes, but you could certainly use plum tomatoes, or, if you've got a glut of cherry tomatoes, you could use those.

Tomato Juice

8-10 medium tomatoes
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt.

Remove the core from the tomatoes, quarter them, and place them in your blender. Blend until smooth.

Transfer the tomatoes to a saucepan and add the salt. Cook on low, stirring as needed, until the reduced until it's a little thicker than tomato juice.

Pass the mixture through a fine strainer. You'll end up with seeds and dry skin in the strainer; you'll have to work at it to get all the pulp through while leaving the dry bits.

If the juice isn't as think as thick as you would like it after straining, you can cook it a little longer.Taste for seasoning, and add salt, as needed.

Refrigerate the juice.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like this idea so much! I wonder why I've never thought about it a bit more as it covers all of the bases...
-Dirt simple
-Ideal use for excess tomatoes of any kind
-consistency can be adjusted as necessary
-skin bits and seeds are removed
-added SALT can be controlled to taste (I dislike it)
-with minimal additional processing and the addition of some ascorbic acid (Vit. C for gawd's sake)it can be formally canned or even frozen with minimal loss of 'fresh' quality.
Humph! WIth last year's culls from neighbors, I sliced, dried and eventually made concentrated Tomato Powder - stored slaled in the freezer. I love the stuff, but several of the tomato contributors can't get past the idea of adding a 'powder' to their sauces and soups.
I guess I still like the highly concentrated, dry powder best, but some whole-body juice will find a place this year. Thanks for the great idea. I wish that my own land would grow tomatoes. Great post!! -Craig

Anonymous said...

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Despite a substantial and growing readership, you may wonder why do not often see comments from your readers. The forgoing is why! Some readers try to offer thanks (and comments) for many of your posts, but the supporting software often makes responses far more difficult than should be necessary. In the end, you recieve little or no feedback (or thanks) for your work, yet oodles of readers have tried. Feedback is essential for successful writers and you are not getting your due, because the Blogspot software's REPLY function is so awful. You write and post, we read and you must live without most thanks and validation, until the software is made functional. Nuff said. -C.

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