How to Preserve Your Own Drinks With Natural Products

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Preserving beverages will allow for drinking throughout the year.
Image Credit: istetiana/Moment/GettyImages

Things You'll Need

  • Juice or fresh vegetables (tomato or mix of vegetables)

  • Large pot

  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • Tomato crusher (optional)

  • Ladles and spoons

  • Sieve (optional)

  • Lemon juice

  • Jar grabber

  • Jar funnel

  • Jars with lids and rings

  • Canner

When making a juice at home, it is possible to preserve it naturally for enjoyment throughout the year. The easiest way to preserve natural fruit juice for future drinking is through canning methods. Canning drinks helps keep the juice fresh and free of bacteria with a shelf life between one and two years. Preserved juice might require the addition of acidifiers, such as lemon juice, to make the drink stay fresh.

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Step 1: Clean all the jars and tools

Thoroughly clean all the jars and tools you will use to preserve natural fruit juice with hot, soapy water, or using a dishwasher. If your dishwasher has a "sanitize" cycle, use it. Further sanitize the rings and lids for the canning jars by soaking them in a pan of water that's just shy of boiling, for at least 10 minutes.

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Step 2: Clean all the produce

Thoroughly clean all of your fruits or vegetables. Cut away and discard any broken, rotten or bruised parts of the fruits and vegetables.

Step 3: Cook and mash tomatoes

Cut up the tomatoes, if using, and add them to the large pot. For seven quarts of a tomato or vegetable juice, add 22 pounds of tomatoes. Turn on the heat and bring the tomatoes to a boil. Mash the tomatoes, ideally using a tomato masher but any other similar mashing tool will work as well.

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Step 4: Add more vegetables

Add to the tomatoes one cup each of finely chopped vegetables such as peppers, onions or celery, as preferred. Stir everything together. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes or so, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Step 5: Strain the mixture

Turn off the heat and pour the juice through a sieve. Press on the mixture to get as much juice out as possible. Discard or compost the solid parts left in the sieve.

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Step 6: Reheat the juice

Return the juice to the pan and heat it a second time, over medium heat. Turn off the heat after the juice has simmered for several minutes.

Step 7: Add lemon juice

Add lemon juice to the clean, empty canning jars. Add 1 teaspoon per pint or 2 teaspoons per quart depending on the size of the jars. Lemon juice increases acidity when canning drinks, which preserves the natural fruit juice.

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Step 8: Fill the jars

Fill the jars with the warm juice, using a funnel to prevent making a mess. Leave a half-inch of extra space at the top. Put the lid and rings onto the jars and close them.

Step 9: Place cans in the canner

Place the cans in the canner and turn on the canner according to the instructions. Exact times will depend on altitude and the type of canner. Pressure canners usually require at least 20 minutes, while water bath canners will need at least 35 minutes. Typically, either more weight or five minutes are added for every 3,000 feet in elevation.

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Step 10: Remove the cans

Remove the cans using the jar grabber and set them aside to cool overnight. Once they have cooled, check that the lids are tight by pressing on the center. If it makes a popping sound, it did not can properly. This is not properly preserved juice, but it can be refrigerated and drunk quickly, ideally within a day or two.

Tip

No additives are needed for preserved juices like apple juice or citrus juice because they already have high enough acidity. Simply can the fruit juices without the added lemon to preserve them.

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