Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tomato Drink

Do you have a bunch of little tomatoes? I did and I wasn't sure what to do with so many. I ended up drying some to turn into powder and mix in when I make taco shells and noodles. The rest I made into a tomato juice drink something like V-8 juice. I searched for a few recipe and did not exactly like the looks of any of them. It is my juice after all so I made up a recipe. I know this is frowned upon by the canning experts but I wasn't water bathing.

New guidelines are out about canning tomatoes, no water bathing. I  can hear the " But I've been doing it for years. My grandmother and great grandmother did it before me" True and I and my grandmothers before me also water bathed. I wondered if something had changed. Vitamin levels are lower in foods produced in the store with some vitamins missing all together. With the push for uniformity and longer fresh dates in the forefront of genetic breeding programs, good for you gets pushed out. With the alterations has come a lower acid level in tomatoes produced today. You might get around the vitamin levels a little by producing it yourself because your soil is superior but remember this is genetic alterations so it is there to stay.  How much lower the acid levels are I don't know but tomatoes have always been on the border line for safety in canning with a water bath method.

If you are using heirloom tomatoes grown in your own soil then you might be fine.  The whole point of heirloom is not to genetically modify. One other method to change acid levels is to include lots of manure in the soil. I do because of the flavor and higher acidic taste. It is surprising  just how much you can change the flavor with changing your soil. Some flowers you can change the hue or even color with changing the soil.

I'm not worried about my homegrown because of how acidic they taste and they are heirloom. I do buy outside tomatoes to can though and those I will be changing to pressure cooker methods for. Hopefully someday I will be doing only homegrown tomatoes exclusively. Also keep in mind that the yellow tomato varieties are naturally lower in acid. We use to have to use a great deal of those varieties because of our son's reflux problems.

As for the tomato drink I made, it doesn't have a recipe and it was pressure canned at 12 pounds pressure for 35 minutes because I added vegetables. My first step was to wash my small tomatoes and put them into a large pot with a quarter inch of water to keep them from burning on the bottom. Then I chopped up small bell peppers and a few green pimento peppers I had in the garden. I added finely chopped celery and carrots too. Carrots were not in any of the recipes I saw on the Internet but I wanted it in mine. When the carrots, celery, and peppers were cooked, I put the whole mixture through my Victoria strainer. The skins and most of the seeds were removed. I used the applesauce screen since that is the only one I have. I then put the mixture back on the stove to heat and added a little bit of sugar, a small amount of Worchester sauce, some garlic, salt, and parsley until I like the flavor. Yes, the two different batches tasted mildly different but I liked them both. Next time I am thinking of adding a bit of onion.

How much the flavor was effected by canning process I have yet to learn. I am in the middle of making Halloween costumes and finishing up a order for 202 project bags for a company in Colorado. I just can't seem to get much else done with fall chores and four grandkids here most of the time. Besides my refrigerator is a crowded mess. Do any of you make your own tomato drink? What do you do with a bumper crop of small tomatoes?

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