I love the taste of home canned spaghetti sauce from my fresh tomatoes, but I hate making it. Last week, I cooked it for 9 hours to get the water off, and that was only half a bushel of tomatoes. By the time I was done, I only had 6 quarts for my pantry and the extra liquid had evaporated. A few days later, I got the Vita Nut Milk Bag to review. It's made for making almond milk and juices, so I decided to use it on my tomatoes to try to save some of that precious juice. This was a great idea because my sauce only had to simmer for about 2 hours and now I have a gallon of tomato juice to can for soups and chili! Here's how to make tomato juice to can at home without a juicer.
What is Is
The Vita Nut Milk Bag is a fine mesh bag that you can put fruits, vegetables, or even nuts in to strain. The holes are smaller than cheesecloth, so less solids pass through.
It measures 12" x 10", so it is big enough to hold quite a bit of food.
I've got to say that this little bag really impressed me. I've squeezed two bushels of tomatoes through it this season, and it has held up great. The seams are still intact, and it was easy to clean by turning it inside out and rinsing well and washing with my dishes.
How to Make Tomato Juice
I let them sit all night in the fridge because this helps more juice come off the tomatoes, which means less work.
I filled the bag about half way with peeled tomatoes and squeezed until no more water came out. I was using the pulp to make spaghetti sauce for canning, and I was concerned that maybe I was squeezing out too much water. I needn't have worried because the pulp release even more water when you heat it.
I ended up with 4.5 quarts of juice from a bushel of tomatoes. I could have gotten more, but I was planning on cooking my sauce for 2 hours so I wanted a little extra water.
I've made juice before by squeezing the tomatoes by hand, but it ends up with bits of pulp and seeds. The bag catches the seeds, so I have pure juice that can drank or add to soups this winter.
Tomatoes are a borderline acid/nonacid food, and so many things can affect their acid content. To water bath your canned tomato juice, add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each quart
(use half as much for pints).
You can cold pack this by adding cold juice to cold jars and placing them in a cold canner. Let the water come to a full boil before you start the timer. I usually have jars boiling in my water and reuse the canning water from other things, so I hot pack my tomato juice. I heat up the juice on the stove and add it to hot jars and put it in the hot water in the canner. Either method works fine.
Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Your home canned tomato juice will separate as it cools. This is perfectly normal; just shake it before you use it.
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