I have to admit- I don't like drinking water. But store bought juices and even homemade juices are generally pretty expensive (unless you make my fruit scrap drink), and drinks like lemonade usually either contain white sugar (which makes me sick) or unrefined sweeteners (which are expensive). But if I can have a cheap drink that isn't water, and isn't filled with all sorts of junk, I get really excited...
When I was in the US recently, on all my (many, many) flights, complimentary drinks were served- you know, water, soda, various juices, etc... Soda I knew wasn't an option for me because they are so full of garbage and/or sugar so they'd make me feel sick... and even canned juices are usually with added sugar, and therefore, not an option. I decided to go for tomato juice, and the chilled, red drink tasted so delicious and was really thirst quenching.
After my 4th can of juice (or thereabouts- I told you- many flights), I decided to look at the ingredients, to see just "how bad" those drinks were. And what I saw surprised me. Pretty simple ingredients- and they weren't from "freshly squeezed tomatoes" or anything. No. They were made with tomato paste, water, and salt. That's it!
With ingredients like that, I didn't understand why people ever buy tomato juice, when it's probably super simple to make it from tomato paste. Except I never made it before, and I never knew how easy it was to make tomato juice.
Today, I decided to try it out. Is it actually simple and easy to make my own homemade tomato juice from a can of tomato paste?
Does it taste the same as the store bought stuff?
Here's how you can also make it yourself. Cost wise, it is definitely worthwhile, since one (580 gram/2 cup) can of tomato paste, locally costs about $1.40, makes half a gallon of tomato juice, and a small, approximately 1 quart container of tomato juice costs about $2.85- so this is a quarter of the cost...
If you like to drink tomato juice plain, just make this and use it as is, or refrigerate for a refreshing drink. You can also use it to make Bloody Mary's (just add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, and vodka), or in recipes that call for tomato juice, like many stuffed cabbage and tomato soup recipes.
1 cup tomato paste
4 cups water
1-2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
Dash Tabasco sauce or homemade hot sauce (optional)
1. Mix your tomato paste with 1 cup of water, mixing very well to make sure there are no lumps remaining.
2. Add the rest of the water.
3. Add a little salt, mix it well, and taste. If more salt is needed, add more.
4. Add hot sauce if desired.
Note: I know locally there are two types of tomato paste sold- one more concentrated and one less concentrated. I made this with the more concentrated paste, and I assume, based on other recipes I saw for making homemade tomato juice, that the American tomato paste sold is the same as the more concentrated version I use. But if you're not sure if your tomato paste is the thick and concentrated kind that I use, use less water at first, and only use more water if you see your drink is thick and saucy instead of thinner and "juicier".
Feel free to double or halve this recipe to make as much as you want at a time.
Are you a fan of tomato juice? Do you generally buy it, or make it from either scratch or from tomato paste? How much does tomato juice cost where you live? How much does tomato paste cost? How do the prices compare? How do you generally use tomato juice- as a drink, in cocktails, or in cooked recipes?
Does this look like a recipe you'd try out?