This year’s garden didn’t do so great. Mostly due to not great weather. We lost our zucchini to being over watered by the amount of rain we got. The green bean barely had a chance to produce a few beans before the plants died for the season. Luckily though the tomato plant is one that was definitely a late bloomer but definitely got a good harvest out of it! This year I grew heirloom roma tomatoes which are perfect for turning into homemade tomato paste!
Here is my first batch of freshly picked tomatoes for the season! To get started with this recipe the tomatoes need to be thoroughly rinsed to remove any debris from the skins. I do not peel my tomatoes before cooking so it is important to clean the skins well.
Next I remove the stems if there are any and slice each tomato in half and remove the seeds. Once each tomato has been prepared, it goes into the pot on medium heat.
I allow the tomatoes to break down into a nice tomato sauce consistency before I carefully ladle everything through a mesh strainer and into a heat resistance bowl. This gets all the tomato skins and any stray seeds out of the tomato sauce.
Once all the tomato skins have been removed, the tomato sauce goes back into the pot to cook some more. At this point you want to evaporate as much water as you can out of the tomatoes.It should have a soft paste-like consistency, typically it takes about 30 minutes to achieve this consistency. If you want to season this tomato sauce with anything now is the time to do it. Normally I add a little bit of ground black pepper, salt , and oregano. But feel free to add or omit any seasonings.
After 30 minutes, remove the tomato paste from the pot and spared evenly on the bottom of a shallow pan. I used a squared glass Pyrex for this and it worked out really well. You want to spread out as evenly as possible because this will be going into the oven. Uneven layer will cause thinner spots to burn and thicker spots to hold onto more moisture. Once you have the tomato paste spread out as evenly as possible place it into a preheated 200 degree oven. This will slowly evaporate more of the liquid out of the tomatoes and concentrate the tomato flavor. Check and mix every 15 minutes so that the tomato paste does not burn. Typically this takes about an hour and a half until you achieve a paste consistency. Remove from oven and allow it to cool down before putting the tomato paste into a storage container. Tomato paste has many different applications in cooking. Stick around for part 2, Homemade Ketchup!
Probably my last ripe tomato harvest for the season. I decided to go with a long term use of turning these tomatoes into a delicious tomato jam.
These guys are pretty big and at various stages or ripe. I somewhat followed a pintrest recipe because time and ingredients were an issue.
General basis of this recipe is chop up the tomatoes, throw the other ingredients into the pot and let it simmer. The original recipe said to simmer for 4-5 hours. I really dont have that kind of time to hover over a pot waiting for liquid to evaporate so I used a higher heat for a longer period of time before switching to a simmer.
This process helped evaporate a lot of the liquid quickly in under 30 minutes and without compromising texture too much. In the end I was able to get it all done in about 2.5 hours and boy is it tastey! Through some experimentation, we discovered that our favorite way to consume this jam is to replace it as the BBQ sauce on top of Meatloaf.
- 4-5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 (or more) Mason Jars w/lids
- Rinse and chop all tomatoes. I also removed all the seeds. Place chopped tomatoes into a medium stock pot on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until the pot begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir frequently for 30-40 minutes. This help to evaporate the liquid faster. Once it begins to look a little thicker, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer. Once the texture has thickened up to a jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Prepare and clean mason jars. Be sure to dry out all wetness from cleaning. Carefully transfer the jam into each mason jar. Allow to comletely cool before adding lids and refrigerating jars.
I started my week by picking a bunch of ripe heirloom tomatoes from my garden. Since there was a lot of them I decided to let them sit for a week to soften up so I could make homemade tomato sauce.
I started by cutting, trimming and peeling all the tomatoes. I then smooshed all the chunks through a wire mesh strainer to make all the seeds and white parts easier to remove from the tomatoes.
Added all my spices and let it simmer for a while. It really smelled wonderful while this was simmering. Even my dog Taco was interested.
The final result! A little thicker than normal but it looked great over the pasta for dinner. ❤
Homemade Tomato Sauce
- Minimum of 4 large tomatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut into smaller pieces
- 5-6 basil leaves, thinly cut, or 1 Tablespoon of dry basil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or in little chunks
- 1/2 tablespoon dehydrated onion, or 1/4 of diced onion
- 1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked pasta
- Wire mesh strainer
- Sauce pan
- Large pot
- Cutting board
- Cut and peel all tomatoes. Skin must be removed. It is also helpful to pull out as many seeds as possible. Cut tomatoes into small wedges and smoosh each wedge through a wire mesh strainer over a sauce pan. This should help get the remaining seeds and any other under ripe pieces out of the way. L`et it begin to cook on medium-low heat.
- Chiffonade 5-6 Basil leaves, or 1 tablespoon of dry basil and add to pot. Also chop garlic and add to pot. I tend to go with something a little larger than a mince because my family likes to chomp on garlic. Measure out and add remaining spices to pot. Increase heat to medium. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Stir occassionally and taste test to adjust the seasonings. If the sauce is still too thin, you can add a can of petite diced tomatoes or sliced zucchinni or any other vegetable to help it along.
- After 30 minutes is up, I begin cooking my Pasta. I allow the sauce to continue to simmer until the noodles are cooked. Once the noodles are cooked, plate up and enjoy!