Homemade Tomato Juice

For those of us who garden and grow tomatoes, there often comes a point in the summer tomato growing season in which the bounty greatly exceeds one’s ability to consume it, in its regular tomato form. If you find yourself in this position, and you love tomato juice, V8, Bloody or Virgin Marys, I highly recommend making your own tomato juice. My dad announced the other day that he was going to make some tomato juice and I thought nothing of it. But after one taste, wow. This is how V8 should taste.

Homemade Tomato Juice Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about 1 quart.

Some tomatoes are sweeter than others, depending on their ripeness and the variety of tomato. Use the ripest tomatoes you can. Added sugar will balance the natural acidity of the tomatoes, use more or less to taste. Tabasco hot sauce is also to taste, depending on your desired level of spiciness.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds very ripe garden tomatoes, cored, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped celery with leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • A couple shakes of Tabasco sauce, about 6-8 drops (to taste)

Method

1 Put all ingredients into a large non-reactive pot (use stainless steel, not aluminum). Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until mixture is completely soupy, about 25 minutes.

2 Force mixture through a sieve, chinoise, or food mill. Cool completely.

Store covered and chilled. Will last for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

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Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, who got it from Chef Brill Williams of The Inn at Sawmill Farm in West Dover, Vermont.

Links:

Bloody Mary salsa form Not Eating Out in New York
Homemade V8 from YumSugar
Vietnamese Tomato Shake (Sinh To Ca Chua) from Wandering Chopsticks

tomatoes-in-garden.jpg
Tomatoes in our garden; they overgrew their cages weeks ago.

34 Comments

  1. Katie

    Sounds delicious! I love celery leaves, they are my favorite part of celery. lol

  2. cate

    I can’t wait to try this…I think bloody mary mix is great so I’m sure this will be even more delicious!

  3. Anne

    You can freeze tomatoes too, though they end up “smooshy”…perfect for chilies, spaghetti and casseroles.

  4. Annie Nielsen

    Hi, Elise

    My first time posting. I’ve been lurking for almost a year now…

    Is it safe to assume that this recipe will work with cherry tomatoes?

    Sure! You have 3 pounds of cherry tomatoes? Wow! Mine never make it out of the garden; I eat ‘em. ;-) ~Elise

  5. Madeline

    I’m so jealous of your tomato plants! This juice looks fantastic.

  6. melissa

    Never thought to make my own either, but I adore tomato juice. Thanks for the great idea, Elise/Elise’s dad.

  7. sylvie

    Great idea…and if you have lots of tomatoes, you can make that juice recipe and can it, therefore ensuring a steady supply throughout the winter.

    Canning tomatoes is fairly easy albeit it does requires boiling water – not always something one is overjoyed with in August. So it helps to keep your mind firmly on the picture of all the fragrant winter dish you can make with the tomato sauce, puree, juice etc: lasagna, spaghetti sauce, stews & curries, pizza, meat ball in read sauce etc.

    Next for me is tomato paste… got to use all those tomatoes!

  8. milan

    If I don’t have home grown tomatoes, what kind of tomatoes do you suggest buying from the supermarket?

    Vine ripened. ~Elise

  9. Midwesterner

    Throw in some carrots, green, red, and yellow peppers,some chili’s,and a couple of jalopeno’s(whole), (or habanero’s if you are brave), and a few bay leaves and some cilantro. Simmer for longer than 25 minutes(maybe 40 minimum) until the vegetables are soft enough to force through the sieve.
    And while you are at it, halve the sugar. It may need a bit, but not enough to make it sweet. That ruins the fresh tomato taste. If you want to reduce the acidity, use low acid tomatoes!

    The sugar amount is to taste. We have a lot of early girl tomatoes which tend to be more acidic and need the added sugar (again, for our taste, yours may be different.) ~Elise

  10. Linda

    Well, you have gone and done it again. Another excellent recipe. I read your recipe just after picking the morning’s tomatoes and wondering what I was going to do with them. This was a fast, easy recipe. I used regular tomato, roma, and cherry tomatoes. The prep was so easy – no need to be precise on cutting. I used a mini food processor to finish it all off. Elise, this would make a good soup base! And I agree with the vodka comment above. LOL Thanks!

  11. Bob

    Man, I’m wicked jealous of your tomato plants too. My apartment doesn’t have any kind of yard, not even enough for a grill. I love V-8, I will have to try this since it pretty much has to be better. I never knew celery leaves were good for anything, I had always chopped them off. What else can you do with them?

    Celery leaves are great in chicken soup, either in the soup itself or for adding to the bones when one makes stock. ~Elise

  12. priya

    Hi elise,

    Nice recipe for tomato juice.

    We had a neighbor who used to make a cofee cake with tomato juice. She didn’t share the recipe with me as it was her secret recipe.

    Do you have any recipe for quick breads using tomato juice?

    Campbell’s Soup company came out with a spice cake recipe calling for a can of condensed tomato soup in the 1930′s. It goes like this:

    2 cups flour
    1 1/3 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1½ teaspoons ground allspice (optional)
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
    1 can condensed Tomato Soup, undiluted
    ½ cup butter, softened
    2 eggs
    ¼ cup water
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. Grease and lightly flour 13” x 9” baking pan. 3. In large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spice. 4. Add soup, butter, eggs, and water. With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed, constantly scrapingside and bottom of bowl. At high speed, beat 4 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. Pour into prepared pan.5. Bake 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centercomes out clean. 6. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. 7. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

    Here’s another take on the recipe from the Old Foodie. M.F.K Fisher wrote about a similar cake in her How to Cook a Wolf.In this war time version, only 3 Tbsp of butter or shortening were used, and only 1 cup of sugar, for the same amount of flour. (You can search within the book on Amazon for the actual recipe.)
    Hope that helps! ~Elise

  13. Denise

    This sounds heavenly but I think I’d add a couple of splashes of Vodka ;o

  14. Georgia

    The fresh juice recipe sounds delicious. When I have done all I want to do with the tomatoes from the garden I freeze smaller ones whole. Wash them and let dry. Cut out the stem end and pop them whole into gallon freezer bags. When ready to use them take out however many you need for soup or chili or spaghetti, put them in a colander and run hot water over them and the skin slides right off. Put them into whatever you are making and as they thaw just start chopping at them with a spatula until they are in pieces. I have been doing this for years.

  15. shankari

    I love tomato juice. Mom’s recipe is tomatoes, sugar,a small piece of ginger, water and a pinch of salt…yum yum.

  16. Midwesterner

    Our tomatoes are grown in cages made out of 4×4 square wire used for concrete reinforcement and are about 5 1/2 feet tall. The tomatoes are now having to be tied to the sides to keep them from breaking because the have over grown the top of the cages by about 3 foot. We have 8 plants of different varieties, and the currant size vine is the only ‘short’ vine. compost is a wonderful growing medium, and if gardeners don’t have a compost pile, you need to start one!
    We make juice a freeze it. It last us a winter, and into spring. Then we start salivating thinking about a new crop of fresh tomatoes.

  17. Chad Dore

    I made this last night using vine ripe tomatoes from the supermarket. I only put 1 tbs sugar due to personal taste and instead of salt, pepper and Tabasco I used a special cajun seasoning made at a local market here in Louisiana. I was surprised at how powerful and spicy the end result is. While many foods, especially meats and starches, seem to absorb seasoning, this mixture appears to highlight it. It also really shows you what gets lost when something goes through the manufacturing process.

  18. Priya

    Hi Elise,

    Thank you for the quick bread recipe using Tomato juice. I will try both the homemade tomato juice and the bread soon.

  19. Gail Long

    Why does it matter what type pot you use (aluminum or stainless steel)?

    Aluminum is reactive, it will react with the acidity of the tomatoes and change the flavor of the juice. ~Elise

  20. Chris

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I tried it yesterday, and it was easy and delicious.

  21. Kathleen Nemargut ACE-CPT

    Wow this is a great recipe. I love tomatoes so much and just got sent home with 2 grocery bags full of them by my mother (she grows them). I was trying to figure out what to do with them all before they go bad. I can’t wait to try this recipe out! Thanks :)

  22. Connie

    I just made this recipe, and it is great! The still-warm jars are cooling on my kitchen counter. I used a few cherry tomatoes and romas, along with “regular” tomatoes. I added 1/4 smoked paprika to the recipe, and used chipotle Tobasco sauce; I think both additions just rounded out the flavor. I want to make some more, and am willing to spend the gas money for a special trip to the store to get more celery. Thanks!

  23. Mei

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I love it & so did my guests whom I shared it with today.

  24. Farmgirl Susan

    Hi Elise,
    This looks like the perfect way to use up all the big tomatoes in my garden that cracked during the recent rain. I’ve just gathered them up and am ready to start cooking! One question – have you ever tried freezing this juice? I’m thinking of making several quarts at once and am the only one around here who will drink it – which is good news for me! ; )

    Hi Susan, no we haven’t tried freezing the juice. My experience with freezing juices like pomegranate or grape, isn’t great. The flavor just isn’t the same upon defrosting. Pure lemon juice does freeze well, and we freeze plenty of that. Haven’t tried it with the tomatoes though. If you do, please let us know how it turns out! ~Elise

  25. Lana

    Just made your tomato juice…spectacular!!! I also added 2 chopped banana peppers. OH, IT’S SO GOOD! Thanks!

  26. Larry

    How long will my home made tomato juice keep in the refrig?

    A week maybe? The last time we made it I think it took us a week to drink up. ~Elise

  27. Sue Reimers

    when canning tomato juice in water bath; if the water was boiling 5 to 10 min, but the jars sealed, is that long enough and will it be safe to drink?

    This is not a recipe for canning tomato juice. To can tomatoes, or tomato juice, you need to add an acid, in order for it to be safe. Please consult a different source for canning juice or tomatoes. ~Elise

  28. Huber Hanes

    I have found that the: German-Johnson tomatoe ( the ugly pinkish looking tomatoes ), produce the best flavor for juices or sliceing in a salad. The seeds are smaller than a regular tomatoe seed — best time to plant is when the ground temp. is about 70 deg. +

  29. Robert

    Dear Elise, I just canned some spegetti sauce using 40 pounds of tomatos . I have 3 ouarts of tomato juice left . I can not find a easy fast recipe for canning bloody mary mix. or tomato juice. I am only finding ones for one week in the refrigerater. I want to can it for a later date. Can you help?

    Hi Robert, I haven’t yet tried to can tomato juice, sorry! ~Elise

  30. Kyle

    Ma’s old recipe with a modern update:

    24 cups of tomato juice:

    Quarter up tomatoes, skins and all. Put in a blender and liquefy. Write down the number of cups and pour through a tight screened strainer into a large stainless steel pot. Toss out the seeds in the strainer and keep going until you get 24 cups. Add 2 table spoons of salt, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 tea spoon of celery salt, 5 good splashes of Worcestershire, 5 good shakes of Tabasco, a couple good dashes of Maggie, 20 good spins of a pepper mills. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to gentle boil and cook for an hour. Let cool and pour into freezable jugs/containers. Keep one jug in the fridge and freeze the rest so you’ve got good home made juice for the winter. When you pour a glass, give it a good dose of pepper.

    You can also eat it up as a soup, recook add tomato paste and spice for tomato sauce. Add and spice to make it your own.

  31. huimin

    hey .. do we need to put water in together with all those tomatoes, celery and onion?

    No. ~Elise

  32. Tracy

    Hi Elise,

    Does this tomato juice have to be cooked? I’m wondering if I can run all the ingredients through my juice and season to taste after. Thanks!

    Why don’t you try it both ways and see which you prefer? ~Elise

  33. Patty

    I was wondering why I couldn’t make tomato juice like I do salsa? I blanch tomatoes then core and pill the skin off them then I boil them then put them in clean canning jars and put the lids on and let them seal themselves.

    • Elise

      Hi Patty,
      Tomatoes vary in their levels of acidity, which is what protects you from botulism in canning. Most people I know who can tomatoes add a little acid, either vinegar or lemon juice, to make sure the mixture is acidic enough to be safe. That said, this tomato juice recipe is not a canning recipe, and since I’ve not canned tomato juice I’m hesitant to advise you on the subject.

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