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There are several simple methods that you can use to make tomato juice. One easy way is by juicing the raw tomatoes in a juicer. Another method is to boil the tomatoes and separate the juice from the skin and seeds in a food mill. You can add many other ingredients, such as garlic, lemon juice, and basil to the tomato juice for extra flavoring.
The first step in making tomato juice is to determine what method you want to use so that you can gather the proper equipment before getting started. If you want to make juice from raw tomatoes, then all you need is a juicer. It is very easy because all you do is put the tomatoes into the juicer and it automatically separates the juice from the pulp, skin, and seeds. The raw juice can be used for immediate consumption, cooking, or canning.
Cooked tomato juice is also fairly simple to make. Simply cut the tomatoes into quarters, or smaller pieces if desired, and simmer until they are soft. To hasten the process, crush the tomatoes with a potato masher as they are simmering. Next, separate the juice from the solids with a food mill, and return it to the stove just long enough for it to boil. The juice is then ready for canning or immediate consumption.
To can the juice, you will need sterilized canning jars with proper lids and a large water bath or pressure canner. You can add salt, lemon juice, or your favorite herbs to the empty jars before filling them to about half an inch (1.3 centimeters) from the top. The salt not only helps to add more flavor to the juice, but it also acts as a preservative.
The jars then need to be processed in boiling water somewhere between 35 and 60 minutes depending on the size of the jars and the altitude. Larger jars and higher altitudes generally require longer times. The processing time, however, can be reduced in half by using a pressure canner. After the processing is completed, the tomato juice should be left on the counter undisturbed for at least 12 hours to allow the the jars to cool and seal. Any jars that do not seal can be reprocessed or opened for immediate consumption.
Tomato juice can be used in soups, stews, and many meat dishes. It can also be used in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. There are many recipes that provide step-by-step instructions on how to make a variety of tomato juices, as well as how to use the tomato juice in other recipes.
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