Canning tomato juice at home with an electric juicer is a great way to preserve the fresh taste of summer tomatoes to enjoy all year round. Homemade tomato juice tastes so much better than store-bought, and canning your own allows you to control the ingredients. You can make plain tomato juice or add spices and herbs to suit your taste.
Canning tomato juice is a relatively simple process, but there are some important steps to follow to ensure your canned juice is safe. This guide will walk you through the entire process of making and canning tomato juice using an electric juicer step-by-step.
Benefits of Canning Tomato Juice
There are many good reasons to can your own tomato juice at home:
- Preserve the taste of fresh, in-season tomatoes year-round
- Control exactly what ingredients go into your juice
- Make a nutritious addition to meals and snacks
- Tomato juice can be stored for 1-2 years when properly canned
- Canning large batches saves money compared to buying juice
- Customize the flavor with your own spice blends
- Make a great homemade gift for family and friends
Canning tomato juice requires some special equipment to do it safely. Here is the equipment you will need:
|Electric juicer||Extracts juice from the tomatoes|
|Large pot with lid||Blanching tomatoes and heating juice|
|Jar lifter||Lifting hot jars in and out of canner|
|Canning jars||1 pint or 1 quart wide-mouth mason jars|
|Canning lids and rings||Sealing the mason jars|
|Canning rack||Holds jars in water bath canner|
|Water bath canner or large pot||Processes filled jars in boiling water|
You will also need a few other basic kitchen tools like a knife, cutting board, ladle, and kitchen towel.
The great thing about canning tomato juice is that you only need two ingredients – tomatoes and lemon juice!
For each 1 quart jar of juice you will need:
- 3-3.5 lbs fresh tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons bottled lemon juice
Choose ripe, flavorful tomatoes at the peak of freshness. The variety does not matter, beefsteak and roma tomatoes both work well. You can mix varieties if desired.
The lemon juice helps control the acidity to prevent spoilage. Do not make substitutions for the bottled lemon juice as the acidity level is important for safe canning.
You can add other ingredients like salt, spices, vegetables or herbs for flavor. Just make sure to leave enough headspace in the jars. Options to flavor tomato juice include:
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic, onion or celery
- Basil, oregano, parsley
- Hot peppers
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco or hot sauce
Prep the Tomatoes
Start by washing the tomatoes and cutting out any bruised spots or blemishes. Remove the cores from larger varieties like beefsteak.
Chop the tomatoes into pieces small enough to feed into the juicer chute. You can leave small cherry tomatoes whole if your juicer can accommodate them.
OPTION: For a more intense tomato flavor, you can blanch the tomato pieces before juicing. To blanch, place chopped tomatoes into a large pot and cover with boiling water. Let sit 1-2 minutes then drain and immediately submerge in ice water to stop the cooking. Remove skins if desired by pinching and peeling.
Extract the Juice
Working in batches, feed the chopped tomatoes through an electric juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Collect the fresh tomato juice into a large pitcher or bowl as it comes out of the juicer. Continue until all tomatoes are juiced.
Simmer the Juice
Pour the extracted tomato juice into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or scorching on the bottom.
This simmering helps reduce the volume down by evaporation and helps kill bacteria and microorganisms.
Watch carefully to prevent boiling over. You can reduce the heat slightly if it threatens to boil over.
Prep the Canning Jars
While the tomato juice is simmering, prep the mason jars. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place the jars upside down on a clean towel to air dry.
Fill a large pot half full of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Carefully submerge the canning lids and rings to warm and soften the sealing compound.
Leave them in the hot water until ready to use. Do not boil.
Fill the Jars
Once the tomato juice has finished simmering for 5 minutes, remove it from the heat. Carefully ladle the hot juice into the clean, warm jars leaving 1⁄2 inch of headspace at the top.
Make sure there are no air bubbles in the jars by sliding a chopstick or skewer down the inside edges to release any trapped air. Top up with more hot juice if needed after debubbling to maintain the headspace.
Add Lemon Juice
To each pint jar add:
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
For each quart jar add:
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Then wipe the jar rims with a clean, damp towel to remove any drips or food residue.
Apply Lids and Rings
Remove the lids and rings from the hot water with tongs or a magnetic lid wand. Center the lids on top of the jars and apply the screw bands fingertip tight.
Do not over tighten. Hand tight is sufficient to create a good seal.
Process the Jars
Carefully place the filled jars on the jar rack in the canner. The water should cover the jars by 1-2 inches.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling rapidly, start timing for a full rolling boil. Process pint jars for 35 minutes and quart jars for 40 minutes.
Maintain a constant rolling boil for the entire processing time. Add more boiling water if needed to keep jars covered.
When done, turn off heat and use a jar lifter to carefully remove the jars onto a towel or cutting board without tipping. Leave space between the jars for air flow.
Check the Seals
Leave the jars undisturbed for 12-24 hours to fully cool and seal. You should hear a “ping” sound as the lids seal from the vacuum created inside as the contents cool.
After cooling, press gently on the jar lids to check for a concave shape to verify the seal. The band should not flex up and down if properly sealed.
Store the Canned Tomato Juice
Wipe any sticky residue from the outside of the jars. Label with the contents and canning date.
Store in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months. Refrigerate after opening.
For long term storage, check the seals again before use and discard any that did not properly seal. Enjoy your homemade tomato juice! It’s delicious on its own, mixed into cocktails, or added to soups and stews.
Tips for Making Great Tomato Juice
Follow these tips for the best results when canning tomato juice:
- Use ripe tomatoes at room temperature
- Mix sweet and acidic tomato varieties
- Simmer juice to concentrate flavors
- Add salt, spices, vegetables, or herbs for extra flavor
- Ladle hot juice carefully into warm jars
- Release air bubbles and maintain headspace
- Wipe jar rims clean before lidding
- Process jars for full indicated time
- Let jars seal and cool undisturbed
- Check all seals before storage
- Store in a cool, dark place
Following the proper canning method helps prevent spoilage so you can safely enjoy your tomato juice for up to 2 years. The taste of homemade canned tomato juice is well worth the small amount of effort.
Canning fresh tomato juice with an electric juicer is easy and satisfying. The important steps are extracting the juice, simmering it properly, maintaining cleanliness, following canning times, verifying jar seals, and storing correctly. With high quality ingredients and careful technique, you can make tomato juice at home that rivals anything store-bought. Enjoy your homemade tomato juice on its own or incorporated into recipes all year long.