Yesterday was day one of tomato paste time. I still have at least one more batch to go. But first, I have to cook something with this batch, which started from about 10-12 pounds of tomatoes fresh from my dad’s garden. This is very simple, but it takes time, patience, and a lot of elbow grease in the end. Instructions are below this photos.
I like to freeze my tomatoes because then you have loads of moisture as they begin to cook … but you can use fresh.
Some people say peel them first. I say FUCK NO! Remove the stems…nothing more. Every bit of the tomato contains nutrients, ya know.
Get yourself a BIG ASS pot. BIG. Plop as many tomatoes as you can in there and turn the burner on to medium-low. Then walk away. Just walk away and let that shit take care of itself for a while. Go paint your nails or color a picture or fold some laundry because this is going to take all day.
Now, once you start to see some steam, go poke that shit with a spoon. Then walk away again. Seriously.
You’ll notice at this point that there is some liquid/water starting to come up. If not (like if you used fresh tomatoes and not frozen), then you can add about 1/4-inch in the pot. Don’t go overboard. Those bitches will get juicy soon enough, you just don’t want them burning or sticking to the bottom.
Once you see some bubbling, you’ll notice you’ve got some more room in the pot. Add the rest of those things in now. Oh, go ahead. There’s room!
Lather, rinse repeat all damn day. About every 30-45 minutes, poke that shit some more to make sure nothing is sticking. Leave the lid off! No lid! If you must, put a lid on partially, like a lopsided Kentucky Derby hat. The steam needs to escape you see. Otherwise you’ll wind up with soup or stewed tomatoes.
Once you see the skins coming off, keep poking and stirring and poking and stirring all damn day. If your bubbly isn’t so bubbly, turn up the heat a bit. Depends on electric or gas and your climate.
Add in a pinch of salt at any point. Some people swear by a dash of sugar. Don’t fall for that shit. Tomatoes aren’t supposed to be sweet. Sheesh!
When everything is pretty well mushy beyond belief, take your hand mixer blendy thingie and grind it all together. Don’t fret. We’ll get those skins out eventually. You still want that shit in there.
Now…let that shit keep cooking, adjusting the temperature as needed. It’s your damn stove after all. You know it. You live it.
When all the excess liquid is gone and you’re left with sauce, guess what. You’re almost done. ALMOST. But now comes the hard part. And you may need help if you made as much as I do.
Let it the pot cool down for a few minutes if you want, but I just go for it. I don’t mind a few molten sploshes on my arms.
Place a fine mesh strainer in a big ass deep-sided casserole dish or on top of a very big bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the strainer and let the juices flow. Shake it if it’s being stubborn. Then get a big spoon or spatula and mush mush mush until all you’ve got left in the strainer is…you guessed it…there’s your nasty skins. Pour your sauce back in the pot (at this point you can use a slightly smaller port if you want) and let it cook until you’ve got the desired thickness. I usually stop at a thick sauce, but you can keep going until it’s almost paste. Just don’t burn it! YUCK!