Tomato Paste. It's a perfect way to use up cherry tomatoes once you have become burnt out on them. It's very time consuming to make the paste, but for me it's worth it. I never ever remember to buy it, especially when I really need it to make my spaghetti sauce. So, if I make it and have it canned and safely stored in the basement, I don't have to worry. This batch wasn't as thick as some of the batches I make, but I ran out of time. I had to can it up and call it a night. You can bake this paste until it becomes a really rich, deep red color. It'll be extremely thick and you'll not have as much of it.
I also found that washing, removing the greens and then freezing them before hand helps hurry along the process. I found this out by having to freeze my tomatoes because we had to head out to spend the weekend at my parents. I love seeing my parents and taking Lucian to see his grandparents, but sometimes it's so darn exhausting.
- 5-6 lbs tomatoes cleaned and diced (I use cherry tomatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- In a large stockpot, add in the diced tomatoes and garlic. I used cherry tomatoes and I just removed the greens and washed them.
- Heat on medium heat and stir frequently. Make sure you get to the bottom of the pan so the skins don't burn to the bottom. Once the tomatoes start breaking down and some juices begin to release, reduce heat to a medium low. Let the tomatoes simmer until most of the tomato pulp has separated from the skin. Feel free to mash the tomatoes on the side of the pot to help it along. It took mine about 45 minutes.
- Using a 12x18 half sheet pan, place a food mill in it. Scoop a couple cups of the cooked tomato in the food mill and give the handle a spin until all that's left in the food mill is skins and seeds. I used the smallest sieve. Empty out the skins into the garbage and continue with the rest of the juice.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully place the sheet pan into the oven once the oven comes up to temperature.
- Bake for 4-6 hours. Using a spatula, run it a long the bottom of the pan while the pan is still in the oven. Be super careful not to burn yourself. If you pull it out of the oven, be very careful. There's still a lot of liquid to be spilled and is now very hot too. Scrape some of the caramelized tomato from the sides of the pan. The paste should be thick and deep red.
- Once the paste is ready, place it into hot sterilized jars. Clean the rim with a damp towel. Place a hot lid and ring onto the jar. Place the jars in the hot water canner and make sure the water covers the lids of the jars. Once the water comes up to a boil, boil for 20 minutes. Remove from the hot water canner and place under a warm towel. Let sit overnight.