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TIP: Things To Do With Tomato Juice

A custom-flavored glass of tomato juice is a
delicious drink. Photo by Ockra | IST.

 

We love tomato juice as a drink (spicy Virgin Mary) and a cooking ingredient. Most people we know never buy it, unless they’re planning to serve Bloody Marys at a party.

So today’s tip spans the wonderful world of tomato juice, and what you can do with it.

First point: While it seems as if tomato juice should be “generic,” like milk, our taste test in search of the best tomato juice was eye-opening.

Some brands were so bland, they needed vast amounts of seasoning—lemon juice, sea salt—to be palatable. Others were delicious right out of the can or jar.

It’s not surprising, since different companies pay more (or less) for the best (or average) tomatoes.

So buying a better brand isn’t mission-critical if you’ll be adding vodka, hot sauce and horseradish; but for other uses, treat yourself to the best (our favorite is Knudsen’s).

 

TOMATO JUICE COCKTAIL (VIRGIN MARY)

A plain glass of tomato juice turns into a flavorful refreshment with the addition of seasonings.

  • Citrus: lemon, lime, yuzu, even grapefruit juice
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill parsley
  • Spices: chile, curry, nutmeg, paprika, pepper or whatever jumps off the shelf
  • Garnishes: asparagus, celery, dilly bean, fennel, jicama, green onion, pickle spear
  •  
    Add yogurt and blend a tomato smoothie!

    On a cold day, heat a cup of tomato juice in the microwave, with some of the seasonings above. It’s “tomato soup lite.”

    COCKTAILS

    The Bloody Mary (and its numerous variations) is just one drink that uses tomato juice. Look up others, including the Cubanita (rum), Last Not Least (Scotch and cream), Prairie Oyster (Cognac, egg yolk), Red Devil (Irish Whiskey) and Sangrita.

    The Red Eye mixes tomato juice with beer (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).

     

    GENERAL COOKING

    Use tomato juice as all or part of your cooking liquid. We make a deconstructed stuffed cabbage by cooking cabbage and meat balls in tomato juice.

    Cook beans, lentils and other legumes, or spinach, collards, kale and other greens, in tomato juice for a snappy flavor.

    SAVORY SORBET/GRANITA

    Tomato sorbet or granita, with basil or other herbs, is a delicious palate cleanser. You can serve it year-round between courses, or as a summmer desert (we serve ours with a cheese straw).

    SOUP BASE

    Make soup with a base of tomato juice instead of vegetable or chicken broth. Toss in vegetables and seasonings, and add optional beans, lentils or other legumes. Serve it plain or over rice or pasta.

    SPANISH RICE

    A childhood favorite, we loved the reddish-rice Mom made with cilantro, garlic and sometimes, black beans.

     

    Our favorite tomato juice. Photo courtesy Knudsen.

     
    What’s your favorite preparation using tomato juice? Let us know.

      




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