Tomato juice is a popular beverage enjoyed around the world for its refreshing taste and nutritional benefits. It’s made by crushing tomatoes and extracting the juice. But what if you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand? Can you use tomato sauce instead to make tomato juice? Let’s take a closer look.
The Differences Between Tomato Sauce and Juice
While tomato sauce and juice are both made from tomatoes, there are some key differences between the two:
|Made from cooked tomatoes
|Made from raw tomatoes
|Contains tomato solids and skin
|Strained, contains only juice
|Thicker, more concentrated
|Thinner, more liquidy
|cooked with ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs
|Usually just tomatoes, sometimes salt
As you can see, tomato juice is a much more pure and concentrated form of tomato, without the extra ingredients and solids found in tomato sauce. This will make converting sauce to juice a bit more complicated.
Challenges of Using Tomato Sauce
There are a few challenges when trying to make tomato juice from tomato sauce:
- Extra ingredients – Tomato sauce contains added ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. These extra flavors would carry over and alter the fresh tomato taste of juice.
- Thickness – Sauce is cooked down to a thick, concentrated texture. Juice is strained for a thinner, more liquid consistency.
- Seeds and solids – The straining process of making juice removes solids like seeds and skin. Sauce contains these solids which would need to be filtered out.
- No salt – Most tomato juice is unsalted. Tomato sauce is often salted, which would make the juice much saltier.
While not impossible to convert sauce to juice, these factors demonstrate why it’s not as simple as just thinning out the sauce with water or running it through a blender.
Methods to Convert Tomato Sauce to Juice
If you have tomato sauce on hand and need tomato juice, here are some methods you could try:
Dilute and Strain
This method involves thinning out the sauce with water and straining out the solids:
- In a large pot, add tomato sauce and an equal amount of water. For example, 1 cup sauce + 1 cup water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors.
- Allow to cool slightly, then pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids like seeds and skins.
- For a smoother consistency, pass through cheesecloth or a jelly bag after straining.
- Taste and adjust consistency if needed by adding small amounts of water to thin or cooking further to concentrate.
- Chill juice in the refrigerator before serving.
Use a Juicer
A juicer provides a more efficient way to separate juice from solids:
- Pour tomato sauce into juicer per machine instructions.
- Collect strained juice from juicer output.
- Depending on juicer efficiency, sauce may need to be thinned slightly with water to allow it to flow properly.
- Taste juice and dilute with small amounts of water if needed for desired consistency.
- Store juice in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Blend and Strain
For a smoother texture, you can blend and then strain the sauce:
- In a blender, puree tomato sauce on high speed until very smooth.
- Pour pureed sauce through a fine mesh strainer, pressing out liquid.
- Cheesecloth or a jelly bag can filter out more solids after straining.
- Check consistency of juice. If too thick, blend in a bit of water until desired consistency is reached.
- Chill juice thoroughly before serving.
Tips for Converting Sauce to Juice
Here are some tips to help convert tomato sauce to juice with the best results:
- Use plain tomato sauce without a lot of added seasonings. Herbs and garlic will overpower the fresh tomato taste.
- Go for sauces made with just tomatoes as the first ingredient for a purer tomato flavor.
- Water down thick sauces before straining to allow juices to flow. Add small amounts at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Strain blended sauce through cheesecloth or a jelly bag if regular strainers don’t remove enough solids.
- Taste as you go. Dilute with small quantities of water if juice is too strong or salty.
- Consider mixing a portion of sauce juice with regular tomato juice to balance out the flavors.
Nutrition Difference Between Sauce and Juice
Since tomato sauce and juice start from the same raw ingredients, they have similar nutritional values. However, the difference in processing does impact the nutrition profiles:
|Tomato Sauce (1 cup)
|Tomato Juice (1 cup)
As you can see, tomato juice is lower in calories, fat, carbs and protein compared to tomato sauce. Juice has higher levels of beneficial vitamins A and C. The lycopene content is also very comparable. So while you may lose some nutrition in the conversion process, the juice still retains many vital nutrients.
Should You Make Your Own Tomato Juice from Sauce?
Making your own tomato juice from sauce is possible with a bit of effort. However, there are a few downsides to consider:
- It takes time and supplies to properly dilute, strain and process sauce into juice.
- The tomato flavor likely won’t be as fresh and vibrant as juice made directly from fresh tomatoes.
- Added ingredients in sauces may negatively impact the juice flavor.
- Juicing tomato sauce isn’t very efficient, since much of the solids remain as waste.
- Store-bought tomato juice is inexpensive and widely available year-round.
In most cases, it’s likely easier and more affordable to simply purchase pre-made tomato juice. But if you’re in a pinch and have some extra tomato sauce on hand, turning it into juice with some straining and dilution can work in reasonable quantities. Just don’t expect the same full-bodied tomato taste you’d get from juice made directly from fresh, ripe tomatoes.
Making tomato juice from tomato sauce is certainly possible, but it takes a bit of work to properly thin out, strain and adjust the flavor. While the nutritional content remains fairly comparable, the flavor is unlikely to have that just-picked garden tomato taste. For most purposes, opting for pre-made tomato juice or juicing fresh tomatoes will yield better results. However, in limited quantities, tomato sauce can be diluted, strained and seasoned into a usable tomato juice alternative.
At the end of the day, it depends on your time, motivation and tomato sauce ingredients if converting to juice is worth the effort. With the right methods and realistic expectations on flavor, tomato sauce can be transformed into tomato juice in a pinch when fresh tomatoes are not on hand.