Saturday, February 21, 2009

WHERE'S THE TOMATO JUICE?

When we moved to Italy we knew we'd leave some familiar things behind. We also knew we'd bring some of those hard to find items with us; items like chocolate chips, cheddar cheese, seasonings for fajitas - you know, life's essentials. One of the things I never expected to have difficulty finding here in Italy was tomato juice.

I'm not a coffee drinker. Never have been, never will be. I do however love orange juice and for years that was my standard beverage at breakfast. At some point I decided that orange juice had too much (natural) sugar in it, so I switched to tomato juice. It wasn't hard to switch because I LOVE everything tomato.

Now here we are in Italy, the land of the tomato, the place where there are more canned, jarred and boxed tomatoes in the grocery than you can possibly imagine. Whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, cut tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, both double and triple strength. I honestly don't know how the average Italian decides which tomatoes to buy - is one brand better than another? Is it better to start your tomato sauce from whole tomatoes rather than from sauce?
Despite the oeverwhelming choices in the canned tomato aisle, when you get to the fruit juice aisle it's a whole other story. Our local Coop has stopped carrying bottled tomato juice, although you can still get pear juice and carrot juice and pineapple juice, along with scores of other choices.
When we were at the IperCoop last week I checked to see if they still had tomato juice on their shelves and yes! they did! It was a big splurge, but I bought a six pack of bottled tomato juice, and this is what I got - 6 small bottles like the ones labeled pesca (peach).

In case you can't tell, the package next to the 6 pack of bottles is a 6 pack of juice boxes, and these juice boxes are much smaller than the ones we have in the states. I don't know how much the juice boxes hold, but those tiny bottle of tomato juice hold 125 ml, or just over 4 ounces. FOUR ounces! That's half a cup, or about 2 good swallows! And at €1.80 ( about $2.00) for those six miniature bottles, well, you do the math! I don't know what I paid at Kroger for the 64 oz size tomato juice when I was in Louisville, but I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $5.00, which would be the equivalent price per ounce.

I don't know why Italians drink so many other fruit juices but NOT tomato juice. It was never something I thought I consider a splurge here in Italy!

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6 Comments :

At 2/22/2009 01:26:00 AM , Blogger Gil said...

My old Yankee neighbors here in CT always made their own. The don't do much Italian cooking but sure do turn their tomatoes into good juice. I was told that it was not hard to do.

 
At 2/22/2009 01:44:00 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

No, it's not particularly difficult to make, just requires having a huge pot, sieve, then all the jars and lids. I really didn't want to invest in all those jars for something that IMO should be so readily avialable! Another treat saved for the states!

 
At 2/22/2009 07:15:00 AM , OpenID jdeq said...

I love all of the 'odd' juuice combinations that you can get in Italy. One of our 'things' is to try a different one each day!

 
At 2/23/2009 07:10:00 AM , Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

I save any passata or other tall bottles throughout the year then make and freeze juice. Last summer's is all gone. Our Coop stopped selling it (for a whopping 65 c per tiny bottle!) when they enlarged the store. I swear it is what got me through that terrible flu in January.

 
At 2/24/2009 07:05:00 AM , Blogger Dr Satori said...

It's taken me a long time to get over there being no canned tomato juice. Maybe I've been here too long.

 
At 9/08/2015 11:23:00 AM , Blogger Chris Wheatley said...

this is so true! I am diabetic, so fruit juice is out because it is like a straight shot of natural sugar. In the states I drink enormous quantities of V8. I knew I would not get that here, but I assumed I'd be able to get my vegetables through tomato juice (I don't really like vegetables, to be honest)

 

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