In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Save The Tomato Juice… Make Tomato Water?

I’m not crazy.  I just can’t stand wasting things.

This summer, I’ve been lucky enough to peel and chop up a lot of tomatoes from Dad’s garden.  Most have been made into bruschetta, where I seed (remove seeds and goo) before I chop.  The whole cutting process leaves a lot of juice on the board… and it would be such a shame to just wash it down the drain.  So the peels/seeds/goo goes into a strainer along with the cutting board juice.  The juice that leaves the strainer goes into ice cube tray and frozen for later.  What’s left in the strainer goes in the compost bucket.

IF you really want to take preservation a step further… you can dehydrate the skins and then grind them into a powder to use in recipes.  I have not gotten to that level of thriftiness.

Luckily, this summer I read an article in Bon Appetit about “Tomato Water”... thus proving I am not crazy for wanting to save the juice!

Bon Appétit suggested taking it a step further. Using the juice and some additional flavors, you can essentially make a “stock” to use in a variety of dishes.

Tomato Water
By Michael Anthony, Bon Appétit

Makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (about 3)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 medium shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth; set over a large bowl. Pulse tomatoes, shallots, garlic, basil, cilantro, parsley, vinegar, and salt in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Transfer mixture to prepared sieve. Cover and chill at least 12 hours. (Do not stir or press on solids, or tomato water will be cloudy). Discard solids; cover tomato water and chill.

DO AHEAD: Tomato water can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

BA’s ideas for your Tomato Water

  • Use in place of chicken stock in risotto

  • Toss into panzanella

  • Add to a Bloody Mary

  • Spoon over Oysters on the half shell

  • Use as a poaching liquid for Fish

  • Stir into gazpacho

I will probably go a little less fancy, and add some to some jarred pasta sauce to give it a little fresh flavor.  It’s go great in my next pot of chili too!

Saveur magazine has a version of Tomato Water as well.  It’s the more literal approach… which is what I (unknowingly) did.

Tomato Water
By Saveur magazine


5 lbs. very ripe quartered, cored tomatoes

1. Working in batches, put 5 lbs. very ripe quartered, cored tomatoes into bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed until tomatoes break down and release juices (or mash in a large bowl with a potato masher).

2. Rinse two clean, large, thin cotton kitchen towels in hot water. Spread one towel over a large glass beaker or nonreactive bowl and ladle half the mashed tomatoes onto towel. Gather opposite ends of towel and tie securely to make a sack. Hang sack from a yardstick or broom handle suspended above beaker or bowl.

3. Repeat with other towel and remaining tomatoes. Sacks will drip clear tomato water for about 4 hours; if red liquid begins to appear, discontinue dripping. (Do not squeeze cloths, or water will cloud.) Transfer tomato water to a nonreactive container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Discard solids.

Both magazines recommend a slow drip to get all of the tomato’s water… the same method you’d use to get fruit juices for jelly! Can you make a savory tomato water jelly? I am sure someone has thought this though before. At any rate, the drip bag process is very easy with these simple tools:

Looking forward to some fresh tomato pick-me-up with the saved juice, especially once tomato season is over!

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