Monday 28 October 2013

How to produce Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is one of the essential kitchen ingredients. Just a tablespoon adds a wonderfully deep tomato flavor to our pastas, sauces, and spreads. You must always have a can or two stashed away in your cupboard - but do you know you can make it yourself, too?
Tomato paste is really just tomatoes that have been reduced.  You can make a small batch using a few leftover tomatoes that are about to go bad, or buy up several pounds at the market to make enough paste to last the entire season.

First you need to peel and seed the tomatoes, and then roughly cut them into small pieces to help get the breaking-down process started. You can actually leave the seeds and skin on for an even deeper tomato flavor if you like, but you'll need a food mill in order to sieve them out later.
Put the tomatoes in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-low heat. The tomatoes should cover the bottom of the pan by about an inch - too full, and they'll take forever to reduce; spread too thinly, and the tomatoes have a tendency to burn. Add about a half teaspoon of ---- for every ----- tomatoes you're cooking.

Just keep cooking the tomatoes uncovered and stirring every so often until they've reached a thick, paste-like consistency. Lower the heat further if necessary. You should see steam coming off the tomatoes, but they shouldn't really be bubbling. Also, if the tomatoes don't look like they're breaking down evenly, run them in a food processor while they're still at a sauce-like consistency.
If you're doing a huge batch of tomatoes, it can be easier to cook them in a Dutch oven or a roasting pan in the oven at around ----°. Keep the lid off so moisture can evaporate and stir every half hour or so.

You can your tomato paste or freeze it. We find it most handy to freeze tomato paste in ice cube trays, since this is about the amount we use in most dishes. Canned paste can be stored indefinitely. Frozen paste can be kept for several months before developing off flavors from freezer burn.

Making canned tomato paste is one of the easy things  to do and will make your tomato dishes taste so much good.  Home-canned tomato paste has been a tradition for many generations.  In the middle of the winter, you can use the tomato paste to make a fresh spaghetti sauce, lasagna, chili, or other tomato-based meals for that fresh garden taste.
Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated.   This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this!  It's a great thing to do with your kids!
And if you'd rather can your tomatoes or freeze your tomatoes, see this page!


  • Tomatoes - ---- quarts peeled, cored chopped tomatoes (about ---- dozen large tomatoes) - best to use ---- type /-----tomatoes
  • Red peppers - ---- cups chopped sweet red peppers (about ----- whole peppers)
  • Bay - ---- bay leaves
  • Salt - ---- teaspoon canning or pickling salt (optional)
  • Garlic - ----clove garlic (optional)
  • lemon juice - fresh or bottled, about ---- cup


  • 1 Water bath Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about N--- to N---- at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores.  Note: They sell many sizes and types of canners for all types of stoves and needs - see canning supplies). Tomatoes are on the border between the high-acid fruits that can be preserved in a boiling-water bath and the low-acid fruits, vegetables  and meats that need pressure canning
  • 1 large pot (to scald the tomatoes, step 3) and 1 small pot to sanitize the lids.
  • 8 ounce (half pint) canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at Public, Kroger, Safeway and local "big box" stores - about N--- per dozen jars including the lids and rings).  Be sure to get wide mouth jars to be able to get all of the paste out later!  Half Pint size works best! 
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.  They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars.  They may be reused many times.
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars) 
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. (N-- at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • Jar funnel (----Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores; sometimes even hardware stores)
  • Large spoons and ladles
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