When cherry tomatoes are are in peak season and are ripening by the hundreds per day in your kitchen garden or backyard organic garden, it can be thrilling, but there comes a time when you simply cannot eat any more of them.
A quick search on the internet reveals the top popular solutions to be canning, drying, or freezing.
As to canning, we certainly do this and it works wonderfully, but today I was looking for some way to enjoy the cherry tomatoes now.
As to drying, we have a food dehydrator, but honestly, once dried, what am I ever going to do with them? And when?
And they are so tiny… As far as freezing, although I have not tried it myself, it seems like they are not the same when thawed and would only be suitable for cooking.
If that’s the case, why not just can them and not take up precious freezer space?
But then I wondered if I could juice them. I love tomato juice, but have never considered making it at home, and especially not with tiny cherry and grape tomatoes.
After a few searches on the internet, I had enough information and felt comfortable enough to make a go of it.
How to make cherry tomato juice
I thought that maybe I could use the juicer machine to make cherry tomato juice, but pretty much everyone said not to try this.
I ultimately decided to follow a simplified and slightly modified version of a recipe I found on food.com. Below are the steps that I took for my cherry tomato juice.
- 135 cherry tomatoes (or how ever many you have)
- any other spice you might want to use (I like pepper)
- porcelain dutch oven (or any pan or pot that is non-reactive — don’t use copper or aluminium)
- food mill (or any sort of strainer)
- potato masher (or similar tool)
- mason jar
- wooden spoon (or something similar)
- glass bowls (or something similar — no copper or aluminum)
1. Obtain a large quantity of cherry or grape tomatoes or any other kind of small, weird tomatoes. In our demonstration we used 135 of them. It just happens to be how many I picked from the backyard yesterday. Make sure they are fully ripe.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half and toss them into the dutch oven. This is the boring part, but it goes faster that one might think. I took mine out to the patio and sat down to cut them all up. I tossed the green tops back into the garden (organic material).
3. Mash the cut tomatoes a little bit so that there is a layer of juice in the bottom of the pan to ensure that they do not burn during the next step. You do not have to mash very much — don’t waste your time trying to mash all of the juice out — just get enough to cover the bottom of the pot.
4. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
5. Carefully pour the contents of the pot into your food mill and get cranking. Run the pulp back through 2-3 times until all of the juice extracted.
Note: if you don’t have a food mill, I recommend ordering one through our Amazon links below. They are fantastic and can make things like homemade applesauce, pumpkin purees, grape juice, and lots of other things. They pay for themselves many many times over.
But if you don’t have one, as many people do not, you can still extract the juice by hand with the potato masher. Simply mash up the contents of the post as best you can and then run everything through a strainer.
6. Bring the extracted juice back up to a boil, stirring continuously. This will combine the really watery component with the more thick, red, and pasty component.
7. Funnel into a mason jar or other container, put the lid on, and pop it into the refrigerator to cool.
(note: if you strained the contents by hand, you may want to squeeze the contents of the pan through a piece of cheesecloth before transferring to the jar)
8. Drink it! (salt and season it to taste)
My 135 tomatoes made about a half of a quart of juice (I spilled some at almost every step! Yours might make a little more).
Note that although we used a mason jar, this preparation did not involve the canning process (sterilizing, boiling the jars, etc.) and therefore this is not a method of preservation. The juice will need to be consumed in the next day or two, or it will go bad.
The whole process took me about 20-30 minutes to do and it was well worth it. Cherry tomato juice made this way is absolutely delicious! There is a sweetness that is delightful.
Add a little salt and pepper and serve over ice or however you wish. And yes, this would make one heck of a bloody mary, should one be so inclined.