Tomato Juice

BHG Guest Blogger

Homegrown Tomato Juice

The following is a guest blog post from You Grow Girl: Gayla Trail, a Canadian gardener, blogger, author, and photographer. 

Both spring and summer have been unseasonably cool in my neck of the woods, and unfortunately the tomatoes have suffered.  I lost a few straight out of the gate and fear that some of the late season indeterminate varieties will not ripen in time for the fall frost. Fortunately, I tend to over-plant so there will be tomatoes regardless.  A few indeterminate plants are filling up with fruit and many of the fruit in my patch of dwarf and determinate varieties are starting to show their colour.


One way I like to use up the bounty is in making homemade tomato juice. I know it sounds like a chore when you can just buy tomato juice in a can, but wait until you try it. The difference between the store-bought product and this one made with seasonal ingredients is incomparable, and I mean that without an ounce of sentimentality or exaggeration. It’s a scientific fact!

The following recipe is the one I use at home, reprinted from my book, “Drinking the Summer Garden: Homegrown Thirst Quenchers, Concoctions, Sips, and Nibbles.”

Cheers!

 

Homegrown Tomato Juice

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1⁄2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley (stems and leaves), roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • Pickled green tomatoes, for garnish (found on page 17 of Drinking the Summer Garden)

 Instructions:

  • Place the tomatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley, oregano, and salt in a large pot and simmer on medium-low heat until the vegetables are cooked through and soft, about 20 minutes. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.
  • Press through a food mill or old-fashioned chinois and discard solids.
  • Stir in the honey and lemon juice and season with black pepper and/or more sea salt to taste.
  • Serve in a frosty glass on ice, garnished with skewered cherry tomatoes, pickled onion, or sliced cucumber.
  • Store the juice in the fridge for a couple of days.

Variations: There are countless ways to turn this healthy drink into a fun afternoon mocktail. Before serving, wet the rim of each glass with a slice of lemon and dip into celery or lovage salt (instructions for how to make these are included in my book, Drinking the Summer Garden.”  Shake or stir in a dash of Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar to taste. Season with dried or finely chopped fresh herbs such as basil, marjoram, or thyme. Spice it up with a hot pickled pepper. Drink it through a hollow lovage stem made into an edible straw.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-
GAYLA TRAIL is the creator of YouGrowGirl.com, where she has been sharing her experiences gardening in difficult urban spaces for 13 years. Gayla is the author/photographer of four books on urban gardening: You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening, Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces (translated into three additional languages), Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces and Drinking the Summer Garden: Homegrown Thirst Quenchers, Concoctions, Sips, and Nibbles.” She lives, cooks, and gardens in Toronto with her partner Davin and their sweet pup Molly.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————-