So its tomato season and this is the time of year to make passata. As a non-Italian, I have a romanticised view of the family tradition of coming together to make passata. This year, I was swayed by lovely articles in The Age and Tomato, as well as SBS’ Italian Food Safari and decided it was finally time to tackle making passata. I roped Saskia in and dispatched Mr M off to the market to acquire a suitably large number of tomatoes.
In preparation, Saskia and I started our passata making research. A few recipes in, a couple of factors brought our plans unstuck – one, the need to cook the tomatoes for between 6 and 10 hours and two, the need for some sort of sieve or de-seeding/pulping apparatus. Hmmm.
Thankfully, Maggie Beer came to the rescue – in her book, Maggie’s Harvest she provides a simple method of how to preserve tomatoes. Saskia and I convinced ourselves that preserving tomatoes was a better idea than making passata, particularly given there were only two of us (no hordes of family or friends), with no time, equipment or know-how. We also rationalised that ordinarily we rarely use passata in our cooking – whole canned tomatoes are used much more frequently.
Preserving the tomatoes was a simple and comparatively fast process. From approximately 1.5 kg of tomatoes we made 4 1L jars of tomatoes (although they do reduce quite a bit).
I am yet to use my tomatoes – I will let you know how they are when I use them!
From Maggie’s Harvest.
- Wash and dry very ripe but firm tomatoes. We bought some from the market and the gorgeous little ones are from our friend U’s garden.
- Cut away the entire stem area, and any imperfections, then halve and pack tightly into preserving jars.
- Note that no water is added and the jars are not sterilised before use as the heat from the tomatoes will sterilise the jars.
- Seal the lids then wrap in a tea-towel and place in a preserving pan, or large saucepan. Cover with water.
- Cook for 1 hr and 15 minutes at 92C.
- When the time is up, invert them so that the hot tomatoes sterilise the lid.
- Stand the tomatoes upright on a wad of newspapers for between 24 and 48 hours before storing.