I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t believe how much tomato sauce my family goes through. So a couple of years ago I thought it would be nice to make tomato purée (passata) from scratch. I read a lot of recipes that required you to boil water to remove the skins, and then take the seeds out. I couldn’t be bothered with all that hassle so I went online in search of a gadget to help me out. I found this neat little food strainer at Home Hardware. It’s great value and does an amazing job separating the skin and seeds from the pulp and juice.
But the best of part of making Passata is the fact that it’s a family affair. In addition to being “project manager”, my job is to wash and cut the tomatoes. My eldest son “feeds” the tomatoes into the machine. My husband is the muscle, turning the handle to extract all of the lovely tomato purée. And finally, my youngest son takes on “seed duty” removing all the pulp that comes out of the machine.
What you will need:
Good quality plum tomatoes (I bought two 25lb boxes of tomatoes)
Sea salt to taste (This is optional, but like to use Maldon Sea Salt)
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
A couple of big pans
Storage containers – I used a combination of jars and Ziploc bags because I was freezing the sauce
Set-up your food strainer as per your machine’s instructions.
Prep the tomatoes by washing and then dicing them into quarters.
Pass them through the machine (as per your machine’s instructions). We also like to pass the seeds and skin through a second time to get all of the lovely tomato juice out.
Put the purée into the pans. Bring to the boil, lower to medium and let simmer for about 1.5-2.5 hours. The goal is to let the sauce to reduce so that it will be nice and thick.
When the sauce reaches the consistency you desire, turn off the heat. Add the salt and whole basil leaves.
Let the sauce cool.
Once the sauce has cooled, portion it out into containers. I filled up the jars leaving some headroom for expansion during freezing, and I put 500ml into each bag. I love freezing sauce in bags because I can freeze it flat, so they don’t take up too much space.
If you have the energy, you can also go through the process of canning the sauce, but I like the simplicity of freezing.
And that’s it! It takes a little bit of effort and planning, but you will have wonderful, garden-fresh sauce all winter long. I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we do.