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What tomato is good for juicing?

Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to get an extra boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet. Tomatoes can be a great addition to homemade juices due to their rich nutritional content. However, not all tomato varieties are ideal for juicing. The best tomatoes for juicing are meaty, thick-walled, and low in moisture content. This allows them to blend up into a smooth, thick juice without getting watery or separating.

Benefits of Tomato Juice

Before exploring the best tomato varieties for juicing, let’s take a look at why tomato juice can be a healthy choice:

  • Excellent source of vitamin C, providing 40% of the RDI per cup.
  • Good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium.
  • Contains beneficial plant compounds like lycopene, beta-carotene, and chlorogenic acid.
  • May promote heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Has anti-inflammatory effects that may help reduce risk of chronic diseases.
  • May help protect skin from sun damage when consumed or applied topically.

Due to their rich antioxidant content, tomatoes are considered one of the top vegetables for cancer prevention. Drinking tomato juice can help increase your lycopene intake, which gives tomatoes their red color and provides protective benefits.

Choosing the Best Tomatoes for Juicing

To get the most nutritional bang for your buck from tomato juice, you’ll want to choose tomatoes that are optimal for juicing. Here are the key factors to look for:

Meaty and Thick-Walled

The best tomatoes for juicing have a thick wall and meaty interior around the gel and seeds. Thin-walled tomatoes will break down too much and become watery and pulpy. Look for tomatoes advertised as “juicing tomatoes” or with meaty interiors.

Low Moisture Content

Tomatoes with higher moisture will yield a very watery juice with mild tomato flavor. Select tomatoes that are firm with low moisture and sugar content to get a rich, concentrated tomato juice.

Fresh and Ripe

Always use fresh, ripe tomatoes at their peak for juicing. Overripe tomatoes will be pulpy and mushy, while underripe ones have less flavor and nutrition.

Well-Suited to Your Climate

Choose tomato varieties that grow well in your climate for the best quality. Talk to local gardeners or your local agricultural extension office for recommended varieties.

Recommended Tomato Varieties for Juicing

Here are some of the best options when selecting tomato varieties to use for juicing:

Amish Paste

An heirloom tomato prized for sauce making that also works great for juicing. Features thick, meaty flesh with few seeds and high solids content.

Roma

A paste tomato with firm, dense flesh and few seeds. The quintessential tomato for making sauce and juice.

San Marzano

A long, tapered heirloom tomato from Italy with thick walls, meaty interior, and bittersweet flavor.

Beefsteak

Large, juicy beefsteak varieties like Brandywine and Big Beef work well for juicing if very ripe. Go for firm, ripe specimens.

Oxheart

These large, heart-shaped tomatoes have thick, minimal seed flesh. Pick fully ripe but still firm for best juice.

Cherokee Purple

An heirloom variety with dark color, rich flavor, and dense texture good for juicing when very ripe.

Celebrity

A popular hybrid with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Makes smooth, full-bodied tomato juice.

Arkansas Traveler

An heirloom with solid, meaty interiors and few seeds. Makes for great tomato juicing.

Tomatoes to Avoid for Juicing

On the other hand, some tomatoes are better suited for eating fresh or using in recipes rather than juicing. Avoid juicing these varieties:

  • Plum tomatoes – Too firm and fibrous
  • Cherry tomatoes – Too small and seedy
  • Overripe tomatoes – Watery and soft
  • Green tomatoes – Not ripe enough, lack flavor
  • Yellow/orange tomatoes – Lower lycopene content
  • Low-acid tomatoes – Bland flavor

Preparing Tomatoes for Juicing

Follow these tips for prepping tomatoes before tossing them into your juicer:

  • Wash thoroughly under cool running water.
  • Remove cores and any bruised spots.
  • Cut into quarters or halves to fit feed tube.
  • Softer varieties can be gently squeezed before juicing to maximize yield.

If you want to peel your tomatoes first, blanch them briefly in boiling water until skins start to split, then transfer to ice water. The skins will then peel off easily.

Juicing Tomatoes Alone vs. with Other Produce

Some people prefer to juice tomatoes alone to get the strongest tomato flavor and deepest red color. However, tomatoes also combine well with many other fruits and veggies. Here are some beneficial combinations:

For Immunity-Boosting Juice

Tomatoes, carrots, celery, lemon, ginger, garlic

For Detoxifying Juice

Tomatoes, beets, carrots, celery, lemon, parsley

For Antioxidant-Rich Juice

Tomatoes, blueberries, tart cherry, spinach, carrot, basil

For Vegetable Cocktail Juice

Tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic

Get creative mixing tomatoes with your other garden produce for delicious and nutritious homemade juices!

Storing and Preserving Tomato Juice

Fresh tomato juice only keeps for a couple days in the refrigerator before it starts to degrade. Here are some tips for preserving tomato juice for longer-term storage:

  • Freeze juice in ice cube trays or muffin tins then transfer to freezer bags.
  • Can tomato juice using a pressure canner or water bath canning method.
  • Simmer juice to reduce moisture then freeze in jars or cans.
  • Add vinegar and spices to make a tomato shrub syrup that keeps refrigerated.

For best nutrition and flavor, try to use frozen or canned tomato juice within 6-8 months. Reheating before consuming improves taste.

Healthiest Ways to Enjoy Tomato Juice

Enjoy your fresh homemade tomato juice on its own, or give it more flavor and nutrition by:

  • Adding a squirt of lemon, lime, or pepper sauce
  • Spicing it up with hot sauce, horseradish, or celery salt
  • Mixing with vegetable or tomato-based juices
  • Pouring over ice to dilute and chill
  • Using as a base for gazpacho or vegetable juice cocktails

Avoid adding excess sugar, salt, or diluting with water which can diminish the nutritional benefits. Sip plain or seasoned tomato juice as a healthy start to your day or refreshing beverage.

The Bottom Line

When selecting tomatoes for juicing, go for varieties that are meaty, thick-walled, and low moisture like Roma, Oxheart, San Marzano, or Amish Paste. Avoid excessively ripe, soft, or underripe specimens. Prep tomatoes by washing, coring, and cutting to fit your juicer. Drink fresh juice within a couple days or preserve via freezing, canning, or cooking down. Add complementary fruits and vegetables to create nutritious juice blends. Tomato juice packs in nutrients and antioxidants, making it a healthy and flavorful addition to your juicing routine.