How to Can Bloody Mary Mix
Since tomatoes are only in season a few months of the year, it makes sense to put up a large batch of homemade Bloody Mary mix. But even if you don’t want to deal with juicing fresh tomatoes, you can still make a big batch of Bloody Mary mix and can it for later. It’s very convenient to pop open a jar and it tastes SO much better than the commercially bottled mixes.
I can a lot of Bloody Mary mix. And let me tell you, it’s one of the easiest things in the world to can safely, even if you’ve never canned food before!
This post focuses on canning Bloody Marys. If you want to make a Bloody Mary with fresh tomato juice, either to consume immediately or for this canning recipe, click here. If you’re just looking for a good Bloody Mary recipe OR you want to make a Bloody Mary and you hate tomato juice, here’s the post for you.
Canned Bloody Mary
This Bloody Mary recipe makes four quarts. Each quart jar serves 4.
- 128 ounces of store-bought or fresh tomato juice (see this post to make your own fresh tomato juice)
- 16 ounces of lemon juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
- several dashes of Worcestershire sauce– link goes to Lee & Perrin’s, the best Worcestershire sauce
- 4 teaspoons of celery salt
- 4 teaspoons of paprika
The traditional Bloody Mary recipe includes horseradish. For both canning safety and the best flavor, I prefer to add the horseradish when I’m mixing the drinks, rather than before canning. I also add the vodka when I mix the drink, for two reasons. First, there’s a chance I may want to enjoy a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary or have a guest who doesn’t drink alcohol. Second, I make my Bloody Marys with infused alcohol, so I like to store that separately.
What you need for canning Bloody Mary:
- glass canning jars (as noted above, the quart size is ideal) – wide-mouth or regular jars are both fine for this
- new canning lids or clean reusable canning lids and seals (learn more about using reusable canning lids)
- metal bands (wide or regular mouth, per your canning jars)
- the Bloody Mary mix
You’ll also need a water bath canner and a canning rack (link is to my new favorite canning rack, it’s wonderful).
It will also be very helpful if you buy a jar lifter and a canning funnel. It’s possible can without the lifter and the funnel but they’re a very cheap way to make the job easier and safer.
Don’t panic, you can water bath (boil) can in any large stock pot. It needs to be deep enough to submerge a quart jar with a few inches of water on top and roomy enough to fit at least two or three quart jars.
How to can Bloody Mary mix
If you’ve never canned anything, review the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s guidelines on Water Bath Canning. The NCHFP is the gold standard for safe canning practices.
Water bath canning Bloody Mary
Fill the canning pot with clean, hot water. Put the canning rack in the pot, cover and turn the heat up to high. The water will need to be boiling once the jars go in.
Put the Bloody Mary mix into a stock pot and bring to a low boil. While the canning process will cook the mix, it will maintain most of its fresh flavor – not to the extent of freshly squeezed juice, but better than the commercially canned stuff.
While the mix is coming up to boil, wash the jars in warm, soapy water. Rinse them and keep them warm. You can put them in the oven on low heat or put them in a pot of hot water. I don’t have room for three pots on my stovetop, so I put my canning jars on a baking sheet in the oven and leave the oven on the lowest setting until I’m ready to fill the jars.
It’s no longer recommended to boil canning lids before using and it’s not necessary to sterilize canning jars any more. Keeping lids and metal bands in warm water is a good practice, however, and seems to help the jars seal.
Carefully place the warm jars on a clean counter or wooden cutting board. Use the funnel and a ladle to fill each jar. Leave 1″ of headspace at the top of each jar. This allows the contents to expand and contract, forming the seal. Remove any air bubbles with a chopstick, swizzle stick or canning gauge.
Place a clean, warm lid on the jar, then put on a metal band, turning until it’s tight but not fully cinched down (‘finger tight’).
Use the jar lifter to put the jars into the boiling water in the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least 1″. Once the water is at a rolling boil, put the lid on and let the jars process for 40 minutes (quart jars) or 35 minutes (if you use pint jars).
Once the processing time is complete, turn off the heat and let the canner cool down for at least five minutes. Then remove the jars, being very careful. Put the jars on a wooden cutting board and let them stand for at least 12 hours. You’ll probably hear the lids ‘ping’ as they seal.
WRAPPING IT UP
After 12-24 hours, remove the metal bands and check that each lid is sealed. Wipe the jars and lids to remove any residue. Label the jar with the contents and the date, then store somewhere dark and cool. Canned tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix will keep for at least 18 months. Be sure to throw the jar in the fridge a day or two before you plan to use it so it can chill down.
Want to learn more about canning food? Sure you do! Check out What do you need to can food? and How to save money on canning supplies.
Tomato juice (or Bloody Mary mix) is easy to can because there are few concerns about texture, density or raw ingredients. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things to consider, though.
First, you must add lemon juice in order to ensure the juice is acidic enough to prevent botulism for growing. Bloody Marys call for lemon juice, so that works out well. If for some reason you don’t want to use lemon juice, omit it from the recipe but put 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid into each jar before filling it. While some tomatoes might be acidic enough to can safely without added acid, there’s no reliable way to tell, so be sure to add that acid!
Second, know that you can omit or swap the dried spices or Worcestershire sauce but you shouldn’t add any MORE spice (proportionally) or other ingredients. Doing so may cause the mix to become less acidic, which would make it unsafe to can. If you want to tweak the recipe or add other ingredients, do it after the jar is opened, as you’re mixing the drinks.
If you’re into canning, you’ll probably want a copy of my PRINTABLE CANNING PLANNER. It’s a cheap and easy way to keep track of your supplies and plan your canning season. Print it out every year and you’ll soon have a great written record of your canning history, too!
How to make Bloody Mary
Once you’ve canned Bloody Mary mix, you’re all set for brunch. Here’s how to use canned Bloody Mary mix. Remember, each quart of mix will make about 4 large drinks – they’ll easily fill a large pint glass. You can either mix each drink individually or do it as a big batch.
Put the jars in the fridge the night before, if possible. I also put the infused vodka in the freezer. Bloody Marys are served over ice so it’s not strictly necessary to chil everything first, but I think it makes a better, less watery drink.
Individual Bloody Mary
Pour 8 ounces of mix, 2 ounces of vodka and a large pinch of prepared horseradish into a shaker or cocktail pitcher that’s a quarter full of ice cubes. Close the shaker and shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds. Alternatively, stir the contents hard for at least 20 seconds.
Pour into a large glass, preferably one that’s had the rim properly seasoned. Add the garnishes of your choice and enjoy. More about preparing the glasses, seasoning the rims and making garnishes here. You can add a few fresh ice cubes at this point but I usually just rely on the cubes from the shaker.
Shaking or stirring this drink has two purposes. The first is to fully combine the mix, vodka and horseradish. The second is to chill the ingredients and add a touch of dilution via melt from the cubes. The first part is essential for a good Bloody Mary. The second isn’t really necessary if your ingredients are cold and you’re serving over ice. So if you have a small shaker or you want to do these in a batch, you can omit the ice in the mixing stage and just serve over ice.
Making a batch of Bloody Mary
If you’re going to make a batch of Bloody Mary, chill the mix and vodka overnight. Prepare the glasses by seasoning the rims and filling halfway with cubes. Combine the mix, vodka and horseradish in a large shaker or pitcher. Stir or shake to combine ingredients.
Use 1-2 ounces of vodka and hearty teaspoon of horseradish per serving.
Pour into the glasses and add garnishes like queen olives, cocktail onions, caperberries or feta cheese. For something really special, try my recipe for pickled pepperoncini peppers.
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