Homemade Tomato Paste
The Mid West-Gascoyne region of Western Australia grows THE best tomatoes. I'm guessing it's all the sun they get. I discovered this when I travelled there for work a couple of years ago. We drove past the roadside stall pictured below on the way out of Geraldton and had to turn back to get some. It works on an honour system, so you just leave your money in the box and take your tomatoes. They were so sweet and juicy, so whenever I'm up that way or see tomatoes from the Mid West or Gascoyne for sale I have to bring some home.
On a recent trip down south, I came across a whole box at a green grocer for just $10, I had to buy them. Poor Mr J helped me unpack the car. I told excitedly, "I bought 7 kgs of ripe tomatoes!", he sighed, "I can see that". Luckily, I have the perfect way to preserve their flavour in a much more storage friendly way....tomato paste! I love making my own tomato paste. It's a great way to use up tomatoes and concentrate their flavour for dishes like spaghetti bolognese, stews and sauces. I make mine in the Thermomix, using a recipe originally from the Thermomix Recipe Community, because it's virtually hands free, but you could make this on the stove with a little patience and a watchful eye (2 - 3 hours). The recipe as published by Dashes of Love can be found here.
Homemade Tomato Paste
Preparation time: 5 mins; Cooking time: 1 hour 20 mins; Total time: 1 hour 25 mins
1.5 kg ripe tomatoes
20 g extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp rapadura sugar
2 bay leaves
Roughly chop tomatoes and place in TM bowl.
Blend for 10 - 30 secs/spd 6.5.
Add oil, salt, sugar and bay leaves.
Cook 40 mins/Varoma/spd 1 with the simmer basket on the lid to catch the spits.
Blend for 1 min, turning spd slowly up to spd 9. Be careful as the liquid will be super hot.
Remove the basket and lid and scrape down lid and sides.
Cook for a further 40 mins/Varoma/spd 1.
Allow to cool slightly before spooning in to a sterilised jar to store in the fridge.
Alternatively, I spoon mine in to ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, I transfer to an air tight container or zip lock bag and store in the freezer.
For a stovetop alternative, chop the tomatoes and place all ingredients in a large non-cast iron pot (the acid in the tomatoes can interact with the pH of cast iron pans and give it an off-flavour). Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture is reduced to at least half the volume. This could take 2 - 3 hours. Allow to cool to warm to touch, transfer to blender and blend until smooth. Store as above.