Wash the tomatoes well. Cut away any green or yellow parts and remove white orgreen cores. Quarter the tomatoes and measure them into a stainless steel orenameled kettle; each 2 quarts of whole tomatoes should yield about 5 cups, cutup.
Add to the tomatoes, sweet pepper, onion, garlic, celery, peppercorns, hotpepper (if using), coriander, bay leaf, parsley, basil and mustard seeds. Bringto a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.
Force the vegetables through the finest disc of a food mill. Sieve the juice ifit isn't smooth enough, or if any seeds have passed into it. If the juice seemstoo thin, let it settle, then skim off and discard the thin liquid on top.
Taste the juice for seasoning and add sugar, salt, pepper sauce (if you areincluding it) and strained lemon or lime juice to taste.
Return the juice to the rinsed-out kettle and bring it to a boil, then ladle itinto clean, hot canning bars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, puton two-piece lids and fasten the screw bands.
Set the jars on a rack in a deep kettle half filled with boiling water. Addboiling water to cover the jars by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, cover,and boil hard (process) for 15 minutes for quarts, 10 minutes for pints.
Forevery 1,000 feet above sea level add an additional minute, i.e.
000 feetequals 1 additional minute, 2,000 feet equals 2 additional minutes, 3,000 equals3 additional minutes, etc.
Remove the jars from the boiling-water bath and cool.
Note: Because you want highly seasoned cocktail juice, you'll undoubtedly addenough lemon or lime juice to ensure that the juice is acid enough to be cannedsafely in a boiling-water bath.
A Note On Canning Safety: Tomatoes, because of their acid content, have in pastyears been considered safe to can in a boiling-water bath. However, in recentyears hybridizers have developed "sub-acid" varieties that may be on theborderline of acid content where the safe canning of tomatoes or their juice isconsidered to be on the safe side. Taste the juice before canning it, if it lackstartness, be sure to add enough lemon juice to re-create the characteristicpleasant tomato sharpness