Tomato juice was first served as a beverage in 1917 by Louis Perrin at the French Lick Springs Hotel in southern Indiana, when he ran out of orange juice and needed a quick substitute. His combination of squeezed tomatoes, sugar and his special sauce became an instant success as Chicago businessmen spread the word about the tomato juice cocktail.
Many commercial manufacturers of tomato juice also add salt. Other ingredients are also often added, such as onion powder, garlic powder, and other spices. The tomato juice known to most people is always boiled and thus is not available as a fresh product.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||73 kJ (17 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.4 g|
|Vitamin C||18.3 mg (31%)|
|Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
A recent small scale study has indicated that tomato juice contains a factor (dubbed P3) that inhibits platelets in blood from clumping together and forming blood clots. The authors suggest this might be beneficial to diabetes sufferers. The actual effect of increased intake of tomato juice by diabetics has never been studied.
In Canada and Mexico, tomato juice is popular mixed with beer, the concoction is known in Canada as Calgary Red-Eye and in Mexico as Cerveza preparada. Tomato juice is the base for the cocktails Bloody Mary and Bloody Caesar, and the cocktail mixer Clamato.
Apart from the obvious use as a beverage, tomato juice's mild acidity means that it can be used to clean up old coins or metal saucepans in much the same way as other acidic substances such as Coca Cola are used.
Tomato juice is frequently used as a packing liquid for canned tomatoes, though it is sometimes replaced by tomato puree for international commerce due to tariff issues on vegetables vs. sauces. According to Cook's Illustrated magazine, tomatoes packed in juice as opposed to puree tend to win taste tests, being perceived as fresher tasting.
The juice is also thought to be an effective cleaning agent against skunk musk. Its effectiveness was tested on MythBusters and it was found to be "Plausible", though it may only work to mask the smell.