Tomato paste is one of those kitchen staples we usually opt to buy at the grocery store rather than make ourselves. You’d be surprised at how simple it is to make at home and the differences are night and day.
Maybe you’ve acquired a large supply of tomatoes from a friend with a green thumb or your tomato vines are overloaded with tomatoes, why not go ahead and turn them into homemade tomato paste?
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Homemade Tomato Paste: Easy, Inexpensive, Better
- 8 pounds of tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Step 1: Wash and Cut the Tomatoes
First, make sure to thoroughly wash, rinse, and remove the stems from all the tomatoes. Next cut them into medium to small-sized chunks and we highly recommend you remove the seeds at this point to help speed up the cooking process later on.
Step 2: Puree
Next, take all your tomato chunks and puree them all using your blender. During this step, make sure to fully puree your tomato pieces as you don’t want to end up with chunks later on in the cooking process.
Make sure to do this in batches and be careful not to overload your blender to prevent spills and overworking the blender’s motor.
Step 3: Strain
Strain the skins and seeds out of the tomato puree. Place a sieve or a strainer over the pot or slow cooker you will be using to cook down the tomato puree. Pour the sauce into your strainer and using a spoon or a spatula, press the sauce through the strainer and into your pot.
This step may be a little laborious but it’s very essential in achieving a smooth and delicious tomato paste. Be thorough when straining the tomato sauce and be sure to scrape the skin and seeds to extract all the tomato goodness possible.
Step 4: Simmer Down
Next, place the tomato sauce on low heat and begin simmering down the tomato juice to get rid of the excess water. This is the step where you need to be really patient as this can take anywhere from 1-2 1/2 hours, sometimes longer. Trust us, your patience will be rewarded.
Lower your heat further once the water starts evaporating as you’ll risk burning the puree as the mixture begins to thicken. While you don’t need to stand in front of the pot the whole time, be sure to periodically check on your puree, stirring and keeping an eye on its consistency.
A good rule to follow is to check your tomato puree once every 10-15 minutes to keep an eye on consistency and prevent burning.
Step 5: Add the Olive Oil
Continue to simmer your tomato mixture on low heat and keep an eye on it. Eventually, it will arrive at the thick consistency of typical tomato paste. This is also the time to add in your olive oil and any other herbs or seasonings you desire in your tomato paste.
If you’re unsatisfied with your tomato paste at this point and want a more caramelized flavor, you can bake it in the oven on a baking sheet. Stir the tomato paste occasionally until you reach your desired consistency.
So, you’ve got yourself homemade tomato paste, what now? It’s ready to be used in recipes at this point but if you’re not going to use it right away, you’ll have to think about storing options. One option is to can it yourself but we’ll be opting for a more practical option: freezing. Once your finished tomato paste has cooled down, you can pour it into ice cube trays. This is a great option as the tomato paste ice cubes fit easily into Ziploc bags, takes up little space in your freezer, and can store for 6-8 months in your freezer. A great storing method you can also use for smoothies, homemade pesto, and other sauces.
Homemade Is Truly the Best
Speaking of how to use your newly made homemade tomato paste, we love using it in soups, chilis, and stews to give a huge boost of flavor and richness. We’ve even heard it’s great to spread on crunchy baguettes with slices of fresh mozzarella.
If you’ve never tried making tomato paste yourself, we suggest you give it a try. We’re sure you’ll be amazed at the difference of flavors when compared to the canned stuff.
So, Why Go Through All the Trouble for Homemade?
Let’s talk a little about the benefits of the homemade variation. Homemade tomato paste compared to the canned stuff, is light years apart in terms of taste and depth of flavor.
Not only that, but you also have the authority on what goes into your paste. You can be sure of no perspectives, added salt or sugar, and basically anything you don’t really need.
You can use almost any tomato under the sun but of course, each variety will have its own unique flavor and specific yield. Roma tomatoes are a consensus favorite for tomato paste due to their high ratio of flesh to seeds.
It’s All About The Process
Making homemade tomato paste is a simple procedure. You’re just making a tomato sauce but reducing it down slowly for an extended period of time. We achieve that by evaporating a huge portion of the water until you reach a dark reddish, paste-like consistency. Not only does this lower the water content but it concentrates the flavors.
See how it’s done from this video by Oh, The Things We’ll Make!
There are multiple ways to achieve that, cooking the tomato sauce in a pan over low heat, using dehydrating pans, or even a slow cooker with the top removed. We like using the 1st method mentioned because of the control it gives you over the consistency, so let’s get started!
What are some of your favorite recipes to use tomato paste in? Do you agree with homemade over canned tomato paste? Tell us in the comment section below!
- Stuffed Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach, and Cheese
- Steak & Tomato-Basil Pasta With Pinot Grigio
- Southern Italian Beef Steak & Pasta For Two + Wine Pairing
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