homemade tomato juice

While Dad and I were out picking tomatoes this morning, I kept noticing how tall each plant was. Mind you, I’m nearly 6-foot-tall, and the plants were above my head. It was no surprise when I measured a plant that it stands SEVEN feet tall.

Big tomato plants produce big tomatoes. I know it’s not fair to this poor lil’ golf ball, but it was the only thing I could find to compare size. Someone said the other day, we’re gonna need bigger bread for BLT sandwiches!!!!!

This is going to be really hard to believe, but you gotta trust me: these nine buckets of tomatoes came from a dozen or so plants. You can almost fill an entire bucket from one.

We dump the tomatoes into large tubs filled with water to rinse before we core and cut the fruit (or is it a vegetable?) into chunks. Surrounded by loved ones, it’s not a bad job.

The setup for processing the “garden goodies” is top-notch. Dad had this table custom-built to mount the electric drill-driven processor and two large holes cut through the top. Underneath the table, on a shelf, two buckets sit under the holes. One is for the discard (peelings) and the other is for juice.

Here, Kelby is filling the hopper (or bowl) on top and Dad is using a paddle to push the tomatoes into the grinder. The juice and small bits of pulp pour into a bucket and the large pieces of pulp and tomato skins fall into the other bucket. Afterwards, we repeat the process with the “discard” bucket once more. Surprisingly, another five (5) gallons of juice is yielded.

It’s obvious we have fun while working. We can’t be serious all the time, it’s not possible with this bunch.

Here’s a better angle of the grinder. You can see the juice and pulp spilling out while the skins are pushed out and into a separate bucket.

“Some of us are trying to work here.”

That was my cue to stop taking pictures and resume production.

There’s a no-tolerance policy ’round here for unproductive workers. Most of the time, they’re sent to town to pick-up lunch or restock the beverage cooler. Sometimes both.

After processing, buckets of juice are ready to go inside the building. There, the juice will be poured into large pots to cook.

Pickling salt is added, plus an occasional tablespoon (or three) of jalapeno relish for extra seasoning. If Dad is cooking, you can bet there are jalapenos nearby. The juice is brought to a slow boil for several minutes before Mason jars are filled. It’s important to have jars, lids, and bands already cleaned.

In the end, jars of tomato juice are ready to be stored. On this particular day, 101 quarts ~ 0r 25 gallons ~ of tomato juice were produced.

Bloody Mary’s, here I come.

Vegetable soup and chili, here I come.

Open a jar and insert  straw, here I come.

In a few more days, we’ll repeat the process all over again. In the 10 years Mom and Dad have had this garden, I’ve never seen tomato plants like these. The vines are thick and strong, thanks to some special treatment from The Farm, and the quantity is unbelievable. I’ll be eating lots and lots of BLTs while I’m here ….. but I do need bigger pieces of bread!!!!!

By |2012-07-26T15:56:41+00:00July 26th, 2012|Blog, Uncategorized|14 Comments

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  1. wilma July 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    WOW!!!.. I remember watching your dad and Fred doing that last summer, oh i helped, i cut up some tomatoes, but they did the biggest portion.. Those are the biggest tomatoe plants I’ve ever seen.. and beautiful tomatoes.. makes my mouth water..
    I know you are enjoying your visit.. Tomorrow give your dad a big Happy Birthday hug for me..

    • Nicole July 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Wilma. I will certainly do it. =)

  2. I speechless. That is an incredible crop!

    • Nicole July 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Yes! Yes, it is. I don’t see how my folks do this year after year after year. And this was ONE day. hahaha


  3. greengoround July 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    This looks amazing! Nothin’ better than a home grown tomato. Great pics—now, I’m craving a bloody mary. Drink a couple for me. 🙂 YUMMMM!

    • Nicole July 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      Will do, Em!!!!!!!! I really wish you were here, especially for the class reunion next weekend. =( but I’ll drink a Bloody Mary (or two) for you!!!!

  4. Celeste Zachry July 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    That’s AMAZING. When are you coming home from…home?

    Have tons of fun!

    • Nicole July 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      I’ll be home Monday, August 6. Husband’s supply of whitey-tighties and socks runs out Tuesday. LOL

  5. Jillian @ Hi! It's Jilly July 27, 2012 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Whoa! That’s crazy! You’ve got an awesome set-up there…and great workers, too. 🙂

    • Nicole July 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      Yes, Jillian, the set-up is perfect and the workers definitely have the experience needed to complete the task. And, they’re fun to be around too. =)

  6. lovelylici1986 July 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    That is SO awesome!
    Makes for good family time, eh?
    I almost died laughing at: “Open a jar and insert straw, here I come.”

  7. […] also went to Kentucky. I helped in the garden, made tomato juice, shot a high-powered sniper rifle exceptionally well, spent quality time with several important […]

  8. jamiegall1930 April 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    wow, how awesome is that. And that’s just the tomatoes coming in!!

    • Nicole April 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      Jamie, you’re right: last year’s tomato crop was UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Between the perfect weather, adequate rainfall, and nitrogen from tobacco leaves tilled into the ground prior to planting, the tomatoes were bigger, better, and tastier than ever before. And the juice, well it is delicious too!!!! I’ll find some more pictures and send them to you. The sweet corn patch should be a world wonder, along with the vastness of other veggies too. Happy Gardening! =)

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