Making tomato paste is easy, affordable and an essential ingredient in your frugal pantry. A dollop added to soup brightens the taste while adding Vitamin C. In addition, with tomato paste in the pantry or freezer, you can whip up a delicious meal of pasta and sauce in no time at all. If you see a great deal at the farmers market, or if your own garden has exploded with tomatoes, tomato paste can be the answer to the bounty.
Here are the step by step instructions on making tomato paste.
8 – 10 pounds Italian plum tomatoes (Roma, Rosso Sicilian or Principe Borghese are all awesome heirloom varieties). Italian plum tomatoes have less moisture, so will cook down faster.
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice
- In a non reactive pan (avoid aluminum pan, look for stainless or ceramic) combine the tomatoes and salt.
- Bring to boiling over medium high heat (watch for scorching, stir often).
- Reduce to medium heat after bringing tomatoes to a boil.
- Simmer, uncovered for approximately 2 hours, stirring often.
- This will reduce the tomatoes to about 8 cups.
- Press tomatoes through a food mill or colander to remove seeds and skin.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Brush olive oil on bottom and up the sides of a heavy non reactive roasting pan or baking dish.
- Place tomatoes in roasting pan.,
- Bake, uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until most of the moisture is evaporated and tomatoes have slightly darkened, stirring occasionally.
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the lemon juice to each of 6 small 4 ounce sterilized canning jars.
- Ladle hot tomato paste into jars. Be sure to leave a 1/4 inch space at top.
- Wipe jar rims, put on lids and rings.
- Process filled jars in a hot water bath for 35 minutes. Begin timing once the water comes back to boiling.
- Remove from canner, allow to cool to room temperature.
*Note * If you prefer to freeze your tomato paste, an easy way is to freeze in ice cube trays. Once firmly frozen, transfer the tomato paste cubes to freezer bags or freezer containers.