Table of Contents
  1. How do you use tomato juice?
  2. Why do tomatoes need citric acid?
  3. Watch how to can this tomato juice
  4. How to Can Tomato Juice Recipe

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When it comes to canning and preservation, each one of us has to pick and choose what works best for us. The reason to can, primarily how it will be used, defines what makes sense to put away for the upcoming year.

For my family, tomato juice has always been a necessity. I actually think the use of the word “juice” does not explain its best use. We never drank tomato juice. Instead, when canned at home the consistency is much closer to a purée. It’s thick with texture and possesses so much flavor!

Hand holding glass jar filled with red colored tomato juice after being canned with wood board underneath

How do you use tomato juice?

The idea of tomato juice sounds like something straight from the 1950s when people drank tomato juice for vitamins. This recipe can be consumed like a drink but is so useful around the kitchen. Here are my favorite ways to use it:

  • Soup. This tomato juice can easily become the foundation of any tomato-based soup.
  • Sauce. The juice can become a sauce and seasoned to taste.
  • Main dishes. My meatloaf recipe always includes some tomato juice. I find myself grabbing a jar or two of juice for any number of recipes during the colder months.
Glass jar filled with tomato juice with lid and ring on top sitting one wooden board

Why do tomatoes need citric acid?

An important part of canning is the pH level because it directly impacts the safety of the end result. When recipes use a high ratio of vinegar, like pickles, the pH level is easily within safe limits. While tomatoes are known to be acidic in nature, their pH levels vary with each variety. Since no vinegar is added to plain tomatoes, including this juice, citric acid is needed to ensure the pH is safe and no bacteria will grow.

Note: Bottled lemon juice includes citric acid, so it can be a good substitute. Fresh lemon juice is not a substitute.

More tomato recipes

Watch how to can this tomato juice

Tomato juice in glass jar with lid and ring on top sitting on wood board with unsliced red tomatoes in background along with other glass jars

How to Can Tomato Juice

5 from 5 votes
When the tomatoes are producing in the garden, there's only a certain amount of ways to use them. That's why this tomato juice is perfect to save for later. Once canned, it will be a welcome sight on a cold winter evening when soups are in order!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Process Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 quarts


  • 18 lb tomatoes cored
  • ½ tsp citric acid per quart jar (see note below)


  • Run the cored tomatoes through a juicer/sauce maker or food mill. For a thicker juice, run the discarded skins through a second time.
    18 lb tomatoes
  • Once the tomatoes are juiced, bring the juice to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil for 10 minutes. The juice can be cooked as long as desired to condense and cook off any excess water.
  • Once cooked, remove from the heat and pour into sterilized jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add the citric acid or bottled lemon juice to each jar. Fit with lids and rings prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions.
    ½ tsp citric acid per quart jar (see note below)
  • Place in a boiling water bath fitted with a rack to lift the jars off the bottom of the kettle. Return to a boil and process for 40 minutes. Adjust for elevation using the USDA recommendation.
  • After processing, remove from the water bath and cool at room temperature for 12 hours. Once cooled, remove the rings and check for a good seal. Store at room temperature.


  • If using bottled lemon juice instead of citric, use 2 tbsp per quart jar.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 20kcalCarbohydrates: 4.4gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5.7mgPotassium: 268.8mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 47.6IUVitamin C: 15.5mgCalcium: 11.3mgIron: 0.3mg
Course Preserving
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Canning

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I watch your videos all the time and I enjoy it and I enjoy Cannon too keep up the good work could you let me know if you have a cookbook out I would like to purchase one

  2. I love to can tomato juice! I have a hand crank Victorio strainer. My mom and I just canned a bushel and a half of Roma tomatoes. That gave me 19 quart, 7 pint and a half and 6 pints!
    I was so glad to see you put the skin/seeds back through a second time…yes! The “ping” of a sealed jar is the sound of success!

  3. 5 stars
    I love following you on social media and your website. You are the real deal and that is why I like following you. Your just a person who shares what you’ve learned and I like that. Your mom is pretty awesome too. I wish you could come help me with my garden lol. Thank you for great tips, videos, recipes, and for your options about what works for you and doesn’t. it has helped me a lot. Thank you. Take care

  4. I read 8 purée cups and thought, that cannot be (too thick). I know that you feature your canned juice. The juice looks like a good fit for this recipe, but the purée I found was too thick, not like any recipe that I’ve ever tried, wonder if you have tried the store bought canned purée? Love your show and all of your other recipes are great! Also, as a gardener, the landscaping ideas are great (and decorating)

  5. When reading over the yummy sounding Turkey quinoa chili, I’m just wondering what tomato purée would be? Would tomato sauce be an equivalent? Thank you