How To Keep Tomato Juice From Separating When Canning?

how to keep tomato juice from separating when canning

While canning tomato juice in a jar, the most common issue you see is that the tomato pulps separate from the juice. The pulps travel down the jar and the juice stays up. This not only looks odd but is problematic while using as you may need to puree as it is. However, this separation is a very usual situation that can be solved by a trick. 

To keep tomato juice from separating while canning, you need to heat the tomato pieces or slices. Heating the tomato prevents the pulps from separating from the juice to some extent while canning. An electric tomato juicer can be very useful in this case. For choosing an ideal juicer, you can check something like this resource.

To know more details about how exactly you can avoid the separation of tomato juice while canning, stay with me. I will provide you with some tips and tricks to keep the consistency intact and prevent the separation of the tomato juice. 

3 Steps To Keep Tomato Juice Solid From Separating While Canning: 

To make the juice unseparated as desired, you need to follow some simple steps. If you make the juice following these steps, the juice won’t separate easily. So, here are the 3 steps to keep tomato juice from separating when canning: 

Step 1: Cut Tomatoes And Put On A Saucepan: 

Clean the tomatoes first and then cut them into quarter pieces. Now without waiting for a long time, put some of the tomato pieces in a heated saucepan. Keep the heat around 82 degrees celsius and keep crushing the tomato pieces with a wooden spoon.

Crush the pieces while they are boiling in the saucepan. Stir it consistently so that they don’t burn. 

Step 2: Add The Other Tomato Pieces While Boiling: 

While stirring the crushed tomatoes, put the other tomato pieces in the saucepan. Keep adding and crushing the tomato pieces in the saucepan. While doing this, the previously added pieces should be boiling.

When you see all the pieces are already crushed, simmer the boiling pieces for around 5 minutes so that you get the desired consistency. 

Disclaimer: Remember that you should not make any puree before heating it. The pieces should directly go on the saucepan rather than crushing it prior. 

Step 3: Preserve It In A Jar: 

Now is the turn to transfer the tomato juice into a jar. However, you may need to mix some other agents to keep the mixture fresh and prevent separation. 

Take the heated tomato juice and filter it well using a sieve to remove the seeds and pulp. Now add lemon juice or any citric acid to the tomato juice. If needed, you can also add a bit of salt.

This somewhat keeps the consistency well. After mixing them well, transfer the juice into a jar. Don’t fill it fully and keep a 0.5 inch of headspace. 

If you follow this process of making and preserving the tomato juice, the separation would reduce substantially. However, remember that even if the juice separates a bit, you can stir or shake the jar to mix them up in a few seconds. 

Related Questions:

Why Does Tomato Juice Separate While Canning? 

You may wonder why the tomato juice and the pulp separate while the juice settles in the jar. Note that no matter how much you try, this separation may still occur. But if you heat the tomato pieces and then put them in a jar, the separation would be less. But anyway, why does it happen at all? Let me tell you why. 

When you crush the tomatoes without boiling them, it releases an enzyme named Pectose. When the pieces are cut, this enzyme is released. This enzyme is responsible for separating the tomato juice from the pulp. 

But when you heat the tomato pieces rather than crushing them at room temperature, the heat reduces the effectiveness of the enzyme. As the enzyme becomes deactivated to some extent, the separation is lessened. This is why it is recommended boiling and crushing the tomato pieces before storing them. 

Now you have got the reason why tomato juice separates while canning. 

Why Is There Water At The Bottom Of Canned Tomato Juice? 

Tomato is a juicy fruit with a lot of water in it. Moreover, when it is crushed at room temperature, an enzyme is released from the tomato. This causes the water to settle at the bottom. 

When the juice is kept in a jar and settles inside, you can see that the pulp is floating and the watery solution at the bottom. This happens due to the enzyme which separates the water from the thicker juice. Though it looks a bit weird, it is not a major problem as you can shake it and mix the content again. 

How Long To Water Bath The Tomato Juice When Canning? 

The water bathing time depends on the size of the can. For pints and quarts, the water bathing time is different. 

You need to process it in a boiling canner for a water bath. Process the pints for 35 minutes and the quarts for 40 minutes in the boiling canner. After processing the water bathing, you need to use a pressure canner to seal the jars properly. To do so, you can apply 11 pounds of pressure to do the task in 15 minutes only. 

Is Adding Citric Acid To Tomato Juice Mandatory While Canning? 

Though adding lemon juice or citric acid to tomato juice is not mandatory, it is always a good idea to do so. Because the more acidic the juice, the longer it will stay fresh. 

For pints, adding ¼  teaspoon of citric acid suffices. Even if you add a bit more, it won’t harm the tomato juice. Remember that adding citric acids doesn’t really affect the taste of the tomato juice.

It simply increases the acidity in the solution. However, if the taste distorts, add salt and sugar to balance it out. But don’t miss out on adding citric acid as it preserves the tomato juice for a long time. 

How Long Would Homemade Canned Tomato Juice Last? 

It mainly depends on the place where you store, cold place, hot place, refrigerator, and etc. Look at the chart! 

PlaceLasting Time
Cold placeAround 18 to 24 months
RefrigeratorAbove 24 months
Hot placeNot recommended

The temperature of the juice matters a lot when it comes to longevity. Also, if the tomato juice is acidic enough, it would last for a long time. Keep the jar lid closed properly and store it in a cold place to last it for the longest time. 


Now that you know the trick of preventing the separation of tomato juice while canning, apply it at home and see the amazing result. Follow the steps properly, store it with care, and use it for the longest possible time. 

Wilson C. Scully

Hello everyone, This is Wilson C. Scully. I'm likewise you. However, the main difference is that I like to share my kitchen and cooking experience with you.

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