Thursday, August 25, 2011
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.
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.