Sometimes when a recipe calls for canned tomatoes, the directions say to drain the liquid from the tomatoes before using them. The tomato juice that’s leftover is useful, and it gets wasted when poured right down the drain. What can be done with it? There are so many possibilities.

Fresh

Reserve the fresh juices in a non-plastic container (the tomato juice will stain plastic containers), refrigerate and use within a day or two.

  • Use the juice to make Spanish or Mexican rice.
  • Make gazpacho and add it to the soup.
  • Throw it into a pot of meatballs or sausages that are simmering in sauce.
  • Add some spices to it and drink it as tomato juice.
  • Use it to make Tomato Herb Salad Dressing.
  • Add it to meatloaf.
Frozen

If you’re not going to use the juice from the drained tomatoes in the next day or two, freeze the leftover juice in ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen, pop the cubes out and keep them in a freezer-safe container for use in a variety of ways.

  • Use them in place of regular ice cubes in a Bloody Mary.
  • Throw them in the pot along with beef or vegetable broth when making soups for added flavor.
  • Add to the water when cooking pasta that will be topped with a tomato-based sauce. It will add more flavor to the end dish.
  • Throw them into the pot when you’re making veggie or beef stock.
  • Blend them in a smoothie or shake.
Many of these ideas came from the discussion threads on Chow and The Kitchn. One issue that came up in the comments on both websites was the bisphenol A (BPA) from the lining of the cans of the tomatoes that would leach into the acidic tomato sauce. That is a concern, but there are some brands that don’t use BPA-lined cans. Eden Foods, Muir Glen and Trader Joe’s all offer tomatoes in BPA-free cans.

I am sure there are many other ways to use up leftover tomato juice that’s been drained from canned tomatoes. If you have any ideas, add them in the comments section, please.

Related on MNN

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.