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Make Tomato Passata

Preserve tomatoes by making delicious tomato passata

Make Tomato Passata

preserving | fruits | grow your own | recipes

Tomato passata is a traditional Italian tomato sauce made in the late summer when there is a glut of ripe tomatoes, and which is typically bottled, stored, and used throughout the rest of the year in recipes. It is very quick and easy to make - in Italy, families often make hundreds of litres every year. If you don't grow your own tomatoes, then during the summer months you will often find large boxes of 5-10 kg of tomatoes at the market very cheaply.

make your own tomato passata

As the jars above show, store bought tomato passata is expensive (and not as tasty as passata you make for yourself), so it is well worth making your own this summer.

How to Make Tomato Passata

To make tomato passata you need a large pan (the bigger the better) with a heavy base (the heavier the better), and as many tomatoes as you can get your hands on. Wash the tomatoes well and remove any bad bits. Add a sprig of fresh basil, a whole onion with its skin removed, and your tomatoes to the pan and bring it to the boil. By squeezing a few of the tomatoes using the back of a spoon or potato masher at the start, the juice released will help prevent the tomatoes at the base of the pan from sticking and burning.

Mouli used to pulp tomatoes and remove skins and seeds to make tomato passata

Leave the tomatoes simmering away and reducing for at least one hour, and then pass the resulting tomato pulp through a mouli (aka food mill such as that pictured above: click here to buy a mouli) to remove the tomato seeds and skins. If you do not have a mouli then a sieve and the back of a spoon will also do the job, if considerably slower and with more elbow grease.

Finally heat up some olive oil in a large pan and add some very finely chopped onions and garlic (and roasted peppers if you like). When the onions have gone translucent pour in the tomato sauce you have made, add salt and fresh basil to taste, bring up to the boil, and then leave to simmer and reduce until your tomato passata reaches a consistency that you like.

For a thicker and richer tasting sauce, roast the tomatoes for an hour first.

Preserving Tomato Passata

Tomato passata can be eaten immediately, but it is typically preserved so that it can be eaten later in the year when fresh tomatoes are not available. Simply spoon the tomato passata into jars to within 1cm of the top and then screw on the lids. If you can get jars with vacuum seal lids, then this is best since the 'pop' when the jar is opened confirms that the contents have been kept air tight.

Home made tomato passata in preserving jars

Put the filled sealed jars into a bain marie - e.g. a small pan within a large pan, both containing water so that the bottom of the jars is not in contact with the very hot base of the pan which is being directly heated. Fill the pan containing the jars with water until just a couple of inches below the tops of the jars, and bring to the boil. Then cover and leave for twenty minutes. Finally, remove the jars and leave to cool slowly before labelling and storing in a cool dark location.

Shopping List

Here are some useful links to relevant products:
large preserving jars

Article Published: 12:00, 25th May 2010

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