Over the years, I’ve been stocking our canning shelves with different home canned goods – and a lot of them have been tomato based. From pasta sauce, stewed tomatoes and even salsas. But I’ve still been buying my tomato paste at the store – and my recipes have been calling for paste more and more. And I’ll admit it, I’ve looked at the recipes to make tomato paste at home and they looked overwhelming. They were scary, so much work and a lot to do!
But after a trip to the farmer’s market for wholesale produce, I found myself with 20 lbs of tomatoes left over. I’ve got jars and jars of pasta sauce ready to go – so I figured it was time to finally bite the bullet and try to make some tomato paste.
The recipe is really simple – I didn’t even add any spices to ours, because depending on the recipe, I would be doing that later. So all I needed was tomatoes. But peeling, coring and de-seeding 20 lbs of tomatoes – not what I was looking forward to. I will do whatever I can do avoid blanching tomatoes. And thankfully my mother in law came in with a tool that did just that for me! She ordered and porch dropped us a Kitchenaid Fruit and Veggie attachment. I had no idea how magical that thing was. All I had to do was core the tomatoes (with my favorite tool), slice them up and drop them in. The pulp comes out one end and the skin and junk out the other. At the end, I ended up with a pot of seedless, skinless pulp and juice ready to be used! I’m not even kidding, that thing is magic!
Then what’s next? I took that large pot of sauce and put it on medium heat on the stove top and let it go. The house smells of tomatoes for hours as you’re doing it – but all you have to do is watch it and stir it occasionally. When it has reduced down to 1/4th (at least four hours) then it’s ready to be canned. You can make it more concentrated if you want, but this was the perfect consistency for me and what I’m using it for.
When you’ve reached the reduction point you want – add in any of the spices to change it up. I opted to not for this round. But probably will later.
And those 20 lbs of tomatoes I started with? Reduced down to fill 3 pint jars! After processing this will last me a good while, and I can use them in recipes and store the rest in the fridge after I break the seal.
For a recipe that used to intimidate me – it was surprisingly easy and I will be making this one a lot more!
- 20 lbs of tomatoes
- herbs (optional)
- Remove the skin and seeds from your tomatoes
- Combine all or your pulp in one pan, and cook over medium heat for at least 4 hours. Stir occasionally. This will reduce the liquid and remove extra water. You’re looking to reduce the pulp to a concentrated paste of at least 1/4th of what you started with originally.
- Add any herbs or flavoring you want in your paste.
- Can according to the instructions below.
- Place 4 clean pint jars on a rack in your stock pot. Fill the jars and stock pot with cool water until it completely covers the top of the jars. Cover and put on medium heat. Simmer but do not boil.
- Prepare 4 lid sets, put the bands aside and put the flat lids in a small sauce pan and put on medium heat. Do not boil, but keep warm through the whole process.
- Prepare your ingredients according to the directions above.
- Now, remove the jars from the warm bath. Tip them as you pull them out and pour the water back into the pan. Place them on a towel on the counter with the opening up. Do not dry them! Just put them down and put the funnel in. Put your ingredients in your jars. into each jar until there is about 1/2 inch of space in the top. Once all jars are full, take a plastic or wooden utensil and move it around to get extra air bubbles out.
- Take the small magnet tool and remove flat lids from their hot bath. Place over top of each jar. By hand screw on the collars, but not too tight! Remember some air still needs to get out of each jar.
- Place the jars back into the hot stock pot and replace the lid. Turn your temperature up to high. When it starts to do a rolling boil, start a timer for 30 minutes.
- After the jars have processed for 30 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid to the pan. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove all the jars without tipping them and place them back on the towel. Remember – don’t towel them off!
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