Homemade V-7 (not 8) Garden Vegetable Juice Blend

A few weeks ago, my mom made the trek out to Michigan to visit her sisters (my aunties) and my Grandma.

One night while Mom and my baby sister were out there, the Shaffer girls (because that’s what they become when they’re all together again) and Grandma gathered around the kitchen table to talk food and enjoy one another’s company.  That’s when Grandma brought out the game.  Boggle.  My grandmother looks sweet and kind and delicate because she normally is.  My beloved late grandfather was a pastor and Grandma fed every stray person and dog that Grandpa brought home; and that was many, many mouths.  She is kindness personified and I have never once heard her say a bad word or gossip about anyone she knows.  She doesn’t drink, she doesn’t swear, and she takes care of everyone who crosses her path.  But you put Boggle in front of her and she morphs into a killer.  Grandma has handily defeated engineers, teachers, doctors of theology, English majors, physicians, and housewives and has -so far as I know- an undefeated Boggle record in her 83 years of life.  Grandma is a walking thesaurus.  Grandma is a a word creating machine.  And don’t let her sweetness fool you.  You don’t want to write down a word incorrectly or make one up.  She’ll lower the boom; then offer you a bite to eat because you look famished.

Here’s a fact; playing Boggle is the only time my Grandma talks smack.  She challenged my mom and aunties by saying, “Come on.  I’ll wallop the dang out of you!”  Seriously.

I learned to can at the collective elbow of these women.  I don’t even have to close my eyes to picture all five of them sitting around my grandmother’s table or on her porch peeling peaches, snapping green beans, peeling and packing tomatoes,  brining pickles or playing Boggle to unwind after a marathon canning session.  If I put the tiniest effort into the thought I can even feel the steam in the kitchen from the rocking canner on the stovetop.  They would sit and talk and laugh and eat while helping put up the massive amounts of produce from Grandma’s gardens for the winter.  Nothing was wasted.  If it couldn’t be eaten right away it was frozen or canned or fed to the wildlife surrounding their home that we had named ‘Grandpa’s Mountain’.  All creatures great and small eat well when my grandma is around!

I am blessed that all of these wonderful women are still canning up a storm and ever present in my life.  We regularly call (or email, these days.  And yes, my Grandma emails.  She’s a techno-Grandma!) to share our canning tallies. And honestly?  It’s absolutely wonderful to pop down the basement stairs and struggle back up lugging those luscious jars of summery tomatoes and whatnot to make dinner on a dreary winter’s day; But sharing what you’ve made is a  more than half the fun.

My sister and I are carrying on the tradition.  We make staples like tomatoes, salsa, pickles, jam and more, but also consult each other and try to make something new each year so we have something to swap that the other doesn’t have. And we try to figure out a way to get stuff out to our Michigan family every year.

Just this past summer I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to get up north in the mitt to see Grandma and the aunties.  I got to see Aunt Sarah briefly and sent a heavy box of pickles and jam along with her to distribute amongst Grandma, Aunt Molly, Aunt Vicki and the cousins during one visit.  (Don’t worry.  I didn’t burden some poor old thing with a massive box-o-jars.  My Aunt Sarah is only a handful of years older than me and she agreed because I added an extra jar of pickles to pay her back for lugging them around.  Well, she might’ve also agreed because she loves me.  The next time I talk to her I’ll ask if it was for love or pickles.)

I wish I had laid my hands on tomatoes before our visit because I would have loved to send a jar full of one of our more recent favorites along with her: V-7 Juice.  This is definitely a canning recipe that reminds me of my grandma. This seven veggie juice blend  uses up the odds and ends from a well stocked garden.  No garden?  No problem!  You can throw this together easily with vegetables that can be found at almost any grocery store or farmer’s market.  Why not rustle up an additional ingredient to make it homemade V-8? Between my husband and kids and I we have seven people in our family, and I become symbolic-slash-nostalgic at odd moments.   V-7 it remains.  Strange that may make me.  Talking like Yoda am I.  A V-7 I need. *

*Promise to stop talking like Yoda do I.  Hard to quit it is…

This juice is a bit of a project.  It’s not hard, but it is time-consuming.  You’ll want to block off about five hours total from start to finish.  It can be divided up over a couple days, so those five hours don’t have to be consecutive.  And the surpassingly fresh flavor is so worth the effort.  It is infinitely better tasting and better for you than the stuff in cans at the store.  It smokes it.  Dare I say it wallops the dang out of storebought vegetable juice blends?

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For a printer friendly, photo-free version of this recipe, scroll to the bottom of the post!

V-7 Garden Vegetable Juice Blend

Ingredients:

  • 24 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 pound carrots, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 head celery, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 large bunch parsley, washed (This can be found bundled at the store if it is not in your garden.  If you grow it, firmly pack a measuring cup with washed parsley still on its stems.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher or sea salt, optional
  • Bottled lemon juice (use the best stuff you can afford here.)

Wash the tomatoes.

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Slice a shallow wedge out of the top, stem-end of the tomato to remove the core.

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If they are small or average size tomatoes, cut into quarters.

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If they are large, cut into eighths.  Add a couple cups of the chopped tomatoes at a time to a large, non-reactive (glass, enamel, and stainless steel are all good choices) stockpot over medium-low heat.  Lightly break it up with a large spoon or potato masher.

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Continue adding tomatoes and breaking them up after each addition until all the tomatoes are in the pot.  Add the carrots, celery, parsley, and onion to the pot and stir to combine. No onion pics today, though.  Those were some powerful onions and I was crying too hard to take a picture.

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Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking.  Lower heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until carrots and celery are mostly tender.

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Position a strainer over a large bowl or another large, non-reactive stockpot.

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Ladle the vegetables and their juice into the strainer.

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Once everything has been strained,   return the liquid you’ve collected to the (rinsed) stockpot.  Juice the remaining vegetables (or process until smooth in a food processor or food mill.)  Strain over the stockpot to remove seeds and peels.  If using salt, stir it in now.

Heat juice to 190°F.  DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL!  If you don’t have a thermometer,190°F looks like a great deal of steam coming from the surface of the juice with no bubbles breaking the surface.  Hold at this temperature for 5 minutes.

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Prepare jars.*

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Add 1 Tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each sterile* pint jar and 2 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice to each sterile* quart jar you will fill.  Ladle the hot juice into the jars leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars and add the lids, then tighten the rings just until resistance is met.

*If you need help learning what this means or how to sterilize your jars, click here!

Fill your canner about halfway full of tepid water. Arrange the jars around the base of the canner and add water, if needed, to cover the jars by 2 inches.  Cover and bring to a full, rolling boil.  Start timing at that point.  Process quarts for 40 minutes and pints for 35 minutes.  Carefully transfer finished jars to a cooling rack or a towel on the countertop.  Allow to cool overnight without disturbing the jars.

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If the jars have sealed, the center of the lids will be tight when pressed gently.  If the seal has failed, it will pop down and then back up when pressed.  Any jars with failed seals should be stored in the fridge until used.  The rest of the jars can be stored in a cool place such as a cupboard or basement for up to a year.

Homemade V-7 (not 8) Garden Vegetable Juice Blend

Make your own garden vegetable juice that wallops the dang out of storebought. This is so easy to make even if it is a little time consuming. Since you control the sodium in the juice, it's a far healthier option than the one on store shelves!

Ingredients

  • 24 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 pound carrots, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 head celery, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 large bunch parsley, washed (This can be found bundled at the store if it is not in your garden. If you grow it, firmly pack a measuring cup with washed parsley still on its stems.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher or sea salt, optional
  • Bottled lemon juice (use the best stuff you can afford here.)

Instructions

Wash the tomatoes and slice a shallow wedge out of the top, stem-end of the tomato to remove the core. If they are small or average size tomatoes, cut into quarters. If they are large, cut into eighths. Add a couple cups of the chopped tomatoes at a time to a large, non-reactive (glass, enamel, and stainless steel are all good choices) stockpot over medium-low heat. Lightly break it up with a large spoon or potato masher. Continue adding tomatoes and breaking them up after each addition until all the tomatoes are in the pot. Add the carrots, celery, onion and parsley to the pot and stir to combine. Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking. Lower heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until carrots and celery are mostly tender.

Position a strainer over a large bowl or another large, non-reactive stockpot. Ladle the vegetables and their juice into the strainer. Once everything has been strained, return the liquid you’ve collected to the (rinsed) stockpot. Juice the remaining vegetables (or process until smooth in a food processor or food mill.) Strain over the stockpot to remove seeds and peels. If using salt, stir it in now.

Heat juice to 190°F. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL! If you don’t have a thermometer,190°F looks like a great deal of steam coming from the surface of the juice with no bubbles breaking the surface. Hold at this temperature for 5 minutes.

Add 1 Tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each sterile* pint jar and 2 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice to each sterile* quart jar you will fill. Ladle the hot juice into the jars leaving 1/4? of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars and add the lids, then tighten the rings just until resistence is met.

*If you need help learning what this means or how to sterilize your jars, click here!

Fill your canner about halfway full of tepid water. Arrange the jars around the base of the canner and add water, if needed, to cover the jars by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a full, rolling boil. Start timing at that point. Process quarts for 40 minutes and pints for 35 minutes. Carefully transfer finished jars to a cooling rack or a towel on the countertop. Allow to cool overnight without disturbing the jars.

If the jars have sealed, the center of the lids will be tight when pressed gently. If the seal has failed, it will pop down and then back up when pressed. Any jars with failed seals should be stored in the fridge until used. The rest of the jars can be stored in a cool place such as a cupboard or basement for up to a year.

http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2009/09/21/homemade-v-7-not-8-garden-vegetable-juice-blend-wallops-the-dang-out-of-storebought/

Comments

  1. laugh-out loud I did! (and calls boggle playing-Jeremy a whiner, grandma does!) ha!

  2. The book “Putting Food By” has occupied my shelf for, oh…7 years. I’ve never once used it, but dammit if I won’t some day. I have always wanted to make jams and salsas.

    The game of choice when my family is together has always been Rummy-Q or Mexican Train. My Dad was the master until Paul came along and cleaned his clock the very first time I brought him home! It’s amazing that he gave his blessing to marry me.

  3. I love this!

  4. Beautiful. I love vegetable juice. LOVE. And I’m ever more jealous of how you grew up and where you live…

  5. Love this! I don’t even think I like V-8 juice and I want to make it! I’m dreaming about my garden for next year….Thanks:)

  6. We put up about 28 quarts of this the past fall, and I’ve a half dozen or so left from 2008.

    The right season we will go into the farm stand twice a day and buy the ‘remainders’ at $12 a bushel. That is about 25 pounds net after removing possbily bad spots.

    I don’t use the lemon juice (or rather my wife’s recipe doesn’t) and I do pressure can. Don’t remember the time.

    You invited me from facebook.

    • Nice, Warner! I’m hoping for a better tomato crop next year. Sadly every.last.one of our plants succumbed to the tomato blight that was rampant in the NE. Most of our neighbors also lost their crops. Next year will be better, hopefully!

  7. Glad to have found out about this site really enjoyed it and will come back for a further look around when I have some more time.

  8. I’ve got to try this. Hubby drinks V-8 everyone morning with breakfast. How many jars will this make? Thanks!

  9. thank you for a simple recipe

  10. Dee Bertelsen says:

    Reading your site brings back such memories!
    I grew up in the early 40′s..No lights, no phone, coal burning stove what a way to live! I loved it!!

    Grandmother was canning–peaches I think I was abt 4, so I got to help. I washed the jars, making sure there were no spots, then rinsed and set them on a drain to await their destiny. Then I went and grabbed Teddy to curl up on floor to watch her preform her magic. [I was not allowed in the kitchen, while the canner was on].

    Grandmother walked into the living room to bring me a glass of orange kool-aide, and the canner exploded! Kool-aide blessed the ceiling and Grandmother fell to the floor!

    The top of the canner went thru the kitchen ceiling, attic and roof. The peaches were still in the bottem of the canner if you can believe it. Grandad came home from the field and saw the top proudly sitting on the roof! Saw Grandmother on the porch sobbing, and me rubbing her shoulder because I didn’t know what to do. He started laughing…he laughed so hard he fell to his knees, and then on his back laughing. She ran over to him..and tried to talk.. he pulled her down wrapped his arms around her.. I knew everything was just fine!

  11. Can you give me this same recipe just condensed? I currently live in a small apartment and would only need enough for myself for a week. I also do not have much storage space so it would be difficult for me to keep jars and start canning as of right now…
    I would greatly appreciate it if you could. :)

  12. Hi , how many quarts of juice did you get, I have the large pressure full of the tomato puree and would like to turn a lot of it into v7 juice, can you guess how much juice you got from the 24 pounds of tomatoes.
    Thanks linda

    • Hi Linda- It’s been so long that I don’t remember! I will say, though, that each batch of tomatoes varies wildly in the amount of liquid they contain, so it’s best just to have a whole bunch of jars clean and have to stuff them back in the cabinet. :-)

  13. Shared on fb (personal and page) also liked!

  14. Good Morning!

    I just popped over to this post after finding it on Pinterest! :) My question for you this morning is this – can horseradish be added to make a homemade bloody mary mix? My father (I’m part of a Michigan family too!)has been drinking the grocery store brand for years and I would like to make him something special. If this recipe won’t work for it, do you know of another that I could find somewhere?

    Thanks for the hard canning work!
    ~jr

    • Hi Jess- I’m going to say that you could probably add some horseradish as long as you pressure can it! Horseradish is not acidic, so you’d need the pressure canning to keep it safe! And you’re very welcome. It’s more than my pleasure.

      • I know this post is over 2 years old but I am chiming in anyways lol. Yes you can add horseradish to make it more bloody Mary mixish. In the book “you can can” Better Homes and Gardens, there is a recipe on pg 52 for tomato juice cocktail. Tomatoes, celery, onion, lemon juice, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and hot pepper sauce.

  15. This sounds absolutely amazing. This is definitely going on my list of items to can this summer :-) Thanks for sharing it (and your story)!

  16. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll definitely be making it this summer. I’m curious though: could you can the vegetable solids as a salsa? What would you need to add to it to make it safe? I recently made a bunch of salsa that I strained a bit because the tomatoes were so juicy, and we used the juice for cooking.

  17. pilar roy says:

    I am just learning about canning so this is a question… I thought veggies were low acid foods and needed to be pressure canned… can you help me understand why this is different?
    Thank you :)

    • Hi Pilar- The reason this doesn’t necessarily need to be pressure canned (although I have switched to pressure canning it in the last year or so) is because of the acidity from the tomatoes and the lemon juice. Of course, for true peace of mind (and more efficient processing) you can pressure can it. Generally speaking, though, you’re correct. You couldn’t BWB can carrots, celery or onions by themselves unless they’re pickled.

  18. pilar roy says:

    Thank you for the reply! So… pickled items can be water bathed as well? I have more questions, can you recommend a resource?

    • Sure, Pilar. I always recommend the Ball Big Book of Home Preserving, or if the budget is a little tighter, the Ball Blue Book of Canning (Home Preserving). Pickled items, so long as the acidity of the brine is high enough, can indeed by boiling water bathed…

  19. Michelle says:

    I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe. How long are you processing this for in the pressure canner?

    • Michelle, I use 10 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes and it works like a charm. Don’t forget you want more headspace when pressure canning. Leave about an inch!

  20. Great post. Just wondering…I thought I read this thoroughly, but may have missed it…how many pints/quarts did you get from a batch of this? I hate cleaning more jars than necessary, lol.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Summer must hurry now!

  21. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Just waiting for my tomatoes to ripen.

  22. Is it okay to juice these vegetables with a juicer, than bring it up to 190 and proceed to pressure can them, instead of cutting, cooking, straining etc?

    • Hi Linda! I would sure try it. I’ve not done it that way yet but it sounds like its worth experimenting a bit. Please let me know how it works out for you if you go for it!

  23. Thanks for posting this! I grew up with my mom canning homemade tomato juice but this recipe looks better. I have 12 tomato plants going in the garden this year, so hope to have plenty for canning juice. One question though, could you use fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of bottled?

    • Hey Todd- You probably could with one caveat… bottled lemon juice has a standard acidity (which is why its used in canning in the first place) whereas the acidity in fresh lemons can vary pretty wildly from wicked acidic to not acidic enough to give that little boost needed in the canning process to prevent bacterial growth. So, all that to say, maybe? :D

      • Good point, hadn’t thought of that! I don’t think my mom used lemon at all in the juice (and canned tomatoes) that she did when I was a kid and just relied on the acidity in the tomatoes. Although maybe she would have if she had all the info we have nowadays! I am going to try your recipe this summer. I have a new garden and a new canning set that I am itchin’ to try. Thanks!

        • Ah, but there’s another thing, Todd… tomatoes have been bred to be lower in acid now. Do you remember how -in the Little House on the Prairie Books- Laura and her family served tomatoes sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with cream? It’s because they were PUCKERY acidic. So many varieties of tomatoes have come about because of people trying to temper that acidity. That’s why modern canning books specify it and older ones don’t always! You are going to have a riot this summer. Beware! Canning is habit forming! :D

  24. Can I just juice the veggies then heat the juice up to 190?

    • You don’t have to reply to that first questions. I just went back and the read the rest of the posts. But… Do I have to use that list of ingredients? In the past I have juiced anything that came my way and froze them. It usually ended up being four cups of tomato juice (of course) and four cups of a mix of cucumbers, zucchini, beets, carrots, onions, cabbage, spinach, etc. I know that these mixtures separate a lot, but I would just stir it up and put it in baggies to freeze. My family does not drink anything this healthy (unfortunately) but I do use it soups and chilies during the winter. I am relatively new to canning, although I remember mom and grandma canning abundantly when I was younger. I use to freeze everything but that takes up a lot of freezer space, which I want to use for meats. Thanks you for your website it has helped me out tremendously.

  25. Never left a comment before. Ever. I made this. Added 1 med beet 1 stalk of water cress. Used a steam canner and steamed the juice out for 1 hour. Puréed all veggies til smooth and added back to the juice. Put in one Quart canning jars and pressure processed at 10 lbs pressure for 35 min. Perfect! Delicious, plain or for cooking. Yum.

  26. Cindy Krenke says:

    We are trying this recipe for the 1st time today; it smells delicious, we added 2 jalapenos diced from our garden to it, will let you know how it turns out :) Thanks…

  27. Cindy Krenke says:

    We just finished the juice; we got 10 quarts + 1 pint out of this recipe :)

  28. Steve Thomas says:

    I thought you might be interested to know that Campbell’s makes V-7 juice.

    In the summer when everything else is ripe, they juice the other seven veggies to make V-7,and then they add tomato juice to the V-7 when they can the finished product for consumers. Not sure if they are unable to process enough tomatoes at their plant in Napoleon and they are bringing in juice from elsewhere,or what.

    The Napoleon plant is supposedly the largest food plant in the world. They have more than 100 satellite facilities -multiple plants making noodles,multiple mushroom farms, etc.,but I’m unaware of any tomato factories.of theirs. The could be buying juice by the tanker truck (or tanker rail car) down in Mexico. That would extend the season, as in NW Ohio, tomatoes really come on in the last week of August. and it’s a six-week season at best.

    Back in the 1970s, Campbell’s got upset because the Farm Labor Organizing Committee was trying to unionize migrant tomato pickers. That’s Godless Communism, domchaknow? They announced that they would no longer contract with farmers for tomatoes unless they used mechanical harvesters.

    We raised about an acre of ‘maters for Stokley Van Camp, (who ended up selling the plant to Red Gold) picked them ourselves with no migrant labor, and our ‘maters had to be dead ripe, and they were used for ketchup, where spices will cover a multitude of sins. Campbell’s use a lot of tomatoes for soup, which is sort’ve the same way, but Campbell;s also used that same mix of unripe, ripe and over-ripe tomatoes for tomato juice, where it definitely DOES affect the flavor.

    So if you think your own juice tastes a lot better than V-8 brand, it’s not just your imagination.

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