Tomato juice is a rich source of vitamins A and C, potassium and lycopene. While store-bought tomato juice is quick and inexpensive, making your own delivers flavor and health benefits without all the additives and preservatives. One bushel (approximately 53 lbs.) of tomatoes yields 15 to 18 qts. of juice, which can be canned and stored or used fresh. Use homemade tomato juice to flavor soups and sauces or enjoy it straight from the glass.
Determinate Tomato Varieties
Determinate varieties produce all their fruit within a short period of time. Since making tomato juice requires large amounts of tomatoes, determinate tomatoes allow you to grow and harvest what you need for juice within one period of time. There are determinate varieties for each type of tomato, so the variety you choose depends upon the flavor you want to achieve.
Plum tomatoes, often used for canning, sauces and juice, contain more meat and less seeds and water. Determinate varieties Roma, Mariana and Viva Italia provide body and flavor. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station also recommends the Porter, a deep pink, indeterminate variety for juicing.
Round Main Crop Tomatoes
Main crop tomato varieties offer high-quality fruit with a good blend of flavor, body and acidity. Most main-crop varieties mature within 70 to 80 days of planting. Some round varieties suitable for juicing include Better Boy, Rutgers, Celebrity and Mountain Pride.
Choosing tomatoes for juicing is a matter of personal taste. Whether you want a sweet, bold or mild tomato flavor, there are hundreds of hybrid and heirloom varieties from which to choose. According to the University of Illinois Extension, all home-made tomato products must be processed in a water bath canner and acid levels must be raised for proper preservation, usually with the addition of lemon juice.
- How to Can Tomatoes at Home, from Fresh Tomatoes
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Growing Tomatoes
- Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station: Tomato Variety List
- University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Selecting, Preparing, and Canning: Tomato Juice