The perfect recipe for turning your homegrown tomatoes into tomato paste that you can preserve and use all winter long! With this tomato paste recipe, you can make ketchup, BBQ sauce, chili, stews, and yummy sauces with the delicious flavor of homemade tomatoes even while it’s snowing outside. This tomato paste recipe does NOT call for pressure canning, it uses hot water bath canning, which is simple, safe, and a great introduction to canning for a newbie.
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Growing up, I never liked tomatoes, but I always loved ketchup. Last year we grew potatoes for the first time, and I was excited about the idea of making homemade french fries and hash browns. Turns out, homemade hash browns with homegrown potatoes are 100% delicious, and better than any other hash browns.
BUT, one thing was missing, homemade ketchup! So I began researching how to make ketchup and I kept coming across recipes that included store bought tomato paste. It seemed like such a waste to me when we had so many tomatoes growing right in our garden, why would we go to the store to buy tomato paste?
For many people tomato paste seems a little daunting to make from scratch. Because of its high concentration, it requires a significant amount of tomatoes to produce a small amount of tomato paste. For those of us overflowing with tomatoes during the peak months of late summer, it is perfect! If you don’t have a garden yourself, maybe you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who has an abundance of tomatoes.
Or maybe you have access to a local farmer who sells the most delicious and flavorful tomatoes, and you want to find out a way to pack all that deliciousness into a small pint of homemade tomato paste.
The good news is, it is not complicated at all to make tomato paste. It is certainly time consuming, but once you get the hang of it, you will confidently make your own tomato paste for years to come!
The tomato paste recipe I’m going to share with you today, is simple, efficient, and includes steps for canning tomato paste (hot water bath canning), so that you can enjoy your homemade ketchup, and endless other options for tomato paste, throughout the 10 months of the year when tomatoes are not in season.
Personally, I cannot wait to cook up some hash browns on a cold and snowy morning and whip up some homemade ketchup with our preserved tomato paste.
There are just four ingredients in this recipe, of course tomatoes is the most important.
- 20 lbs of ripe paste tomatoes (or other “meaty” tomatoes)
- 4 to 8 tablespoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Wash the tomatoes
- Core tomatoes and chop them in half lengthwise
- Pass the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the skins and seeds* See a note at the end about what you can do with all the discarded seeds and skins.
- Pour the tomato puree into a large pot (8-10qt) and turn the heat on high.
- Add in the salt
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and boil the sauce until it is reduced about 70%, or about 2qts.
- Heat the oven to 250 degrees F. on the convection setting.
- Drizzle olive oil onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Divide the sauce into the two pans, spreading it out evenly.
- Place the two sheets into the oven and bake for 30.
- Take the sheets out of the oven and re-spread the sauce, noticing the thickness increasing. Ensure it is spread evenly, too thin and it will burn, too thick and it won’t evaporate correctly.
- Place the sheets back in the oven for 20 more minutes.
- Continue this process of baking and re-spreading at 20 minute intervals until the sauce becomes paste and is brick-red in appearance.
- As the sauce becomes too thin to cover the entire sheet, scrape in the corners and make a smaller square in the middle, ensuring it is evenly spread and not too thin.
- Begin boiling water in a large stock pot or in a pressure canner.
- Prepare your canning jars by rinsing them with hot water*
- Pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per jar to ensure appropriate acidity for water bath canning.
- Pack the jars with the tomato paste, removing air bubbles as you go to decrease air pockets. 4 ounce jars or 1/2 pints are ideal, but you can also use pints. Ensure the jars are filled with 1/2 to 3/4 inch headspace.
- Once the water is boiling in the pot, add your packed jars, and leave them in for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the jars and set them on a towel or heat-tolerant surface. Leave them be for 24 hours. (Do not worry if you hear popping, that is the process of the jars sealing.)
- After 24 hours check to see the jars have sealed correctly (when you press on the top of the jars they do not give or pop). Once sealed, write the date on the jar, and label what is in it. Remove the rings, and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.
*We use a kitchen aid attachment food mill that attaches to our kitchen aid mixer. This attachment can also be used to make jams, chutneys, to grind meats, make sausages, etc.
*The National Center for Home Food Preservation has recently updated its sterilization recommendations, stating that food processed in a hot water bath for more than 10 minutes do not need to be pre-sterilized. If you are used to pre-sterilizing your jars, it won’t hurt, but it is no longer deemed necessary.
Using your discarded tomato seeds and skins to make delicious tomato powder
Those slimy tomato skins and seeds can be SO much more than waste for your compost or scraps to give the chickens. Did you know tomato seeds are packed with all kinds of nutrients? Nutrients to aid digestion and support a healthy immune system.
There is an easy way to turn all of the discarded scraps into more delicious tomato flavor: making homemade tomato powder! Never heard of tomato powder? Neither had I, but now I use it all the time to add tomato yummy-ness to soups, sauces, you name it!
So go ahead and spread out the tomato skins and seeds onto a dehydrator tray, or baking pan if you don’t have a dehydrator. We use a Magic Mill 9-tray dehydrator, and we couldn’t be happier with its ease of use and functionality.
Dehydrate the skins and seeds, then blend them up into a fine powder and store in a sealed bag in a dry place. There you go! I’ll share another detailed blog post on this in the future, but for now there’s a little extra recipe for you.
That’s all for now friends!
All my best,