Home Made Tomato Concentrate

18 Aug

Making the most of summer tomatoes

Tomato concentrate or purée, delicious used in pasta sauce to enrich it and a spoonful in soups and stews adds a little something special. I know it´s not very expensive to buy, but if you are dealing with a glut of tomatoes and have time on your hands, why not give this a go?

I have to say from the outset, you do need to set aside about 6 hours to make just a few jars. It´s not tricky, but you need to be around to watch the pot slowly simmering away all the water from the tomatoes and leaving you with a gorgeous, thick, sweet and intense paste.

Start by either peeling, deseeding and blending your tomatoes, or (as I do), roughly chopping and then simmering whole tomatoes for about an hour before passing them through the vegetable mouli.  Incidentally, this is another method for making preserved tomatoes.  After you have “mouli-ed” them, you can put them into sterilised jars and tuck them away for a rainy day if you don´t want to go on and make concentrate. Using the second method you may have a few stray tomato seeds in your purée, but hey, it´s homeamde!

Next you need to add about a teaspoon of salt to approx 4 kilos of tomatoes (this gave me three small-ish jars of concentrate) and put them into a wide, heavy based saucepan.  You can use a narrower pot, but it seems to take longer as I find the water evaporates more quickly from a wide pot.

Now keep them at a gentle simmer, you will need to keep them cooking for about 5 hours.  Slowly, slowly, the magic will happen.  Every so often you need to give them a stir with a wooden spoon to make sure they don´t catch on the bottom.

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Finally, your patience will be rewarded, and just when you thought you might as well give up and turn it into pasta sauce, you have a pot of sweetly fragrant tomato concentrate.   Now you can put the hot purée into hot sterilised jars and seal. No need for a hot bath for the jars afterwards, unless it makes you feel “safer”.  I also add a thin film of olive oil, so that when I do break open the jar and start to use it, the concentrate or purée underneath will not dry out.

Delicious, rich…what other words haven´t I used?  Oh yes, you´ll also feel supremely smug when you tell people you have made it yourself!

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50 Responses to “Home Made Tomato Concentrate”

  1. thecompletecookbook August 18, 2011 at 10:23 #

    Definitely well worth the effort!
    🙂 Mandy

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:41 #

      It´s actually quite exciting making it and watching it change – or am I just a very sad person?!

  2. frugalfeeding August 18, 2011 at 10:34 #

    Oh yum, looks worth the effort. I really need to do something like this when our tomatoes have ripened. Yum.

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:41 #

      Even if you just do one batch, I can recommend doing it just for the sense of satisfaction it gives you!

  3. Elinor August 18, 2011 at 10:44 #

    It looks wonderful! We do this a lot, preserving enough tomatoes to last us through the winter (and we eat a lot of tomato sauce, etc.). I find roasting them in the oven first speeds up the process (early in the morning when I can bear to have the oven on), then putting them through the mouli, then simmering to the required concentration. As well as the smugness, the rows of jars make such a good sight on the shelves too!

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:43 #

      Now I know who you are! I do also make conserva your way after I saw your suggestion a while back – roasting them, then the mouli but not reducing them quite to puree….really intense flavour. I now have a whole variety of jars on the shelves (and they do look pretty)…they will probably all be slightly different!

  4. chaiselongue1 August 18, 2011 at 10:48 #

    Sorry, the comment from ‘Elinor’ was actually from me….didn’t realise my daughter had logged in on my computer until I’d posted it!

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:44 #

      When I first saw it I thought…this method sounds like the one Chaiselongue uses!

  5. gardenfreshtomatoes August 18, 2011 at 12:08 #

    Hmmm, wonder if you could cook this down in a slow-cooker? I’ve seen a couple of recipes for fruit ‘butters’ that use that method…
    Maybe if my tomatoes ever ripen, we can find out. Right now, it looks more like we’ll be making jars of green tomato chutney…

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:45 #

      It´s funny, as I was writing the post I found myself wondering the same thing! Would the water be able to evaporate enough?

      • gardenfreshtomatoes August 18, 2011 at 17:02 #

        I know who to ask, but she’s on vacation right now…Will do some research.

      • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 18:40 #

        Oh good! Keep me posted…

  6. fati's recipes August 18, 2011 at 12:47 #

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! 😀
    (can’t say much – got Kenalog in Orabase Kenacomb stuff in my mouth – talk about horribly bad [wisdom tooth] teething!) ouch.

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:47 #

      Oh you poor thing – I have all four wisdom theeth removed many, many years ago but can still remember the pain pre and post op. You´ll be eating a lot of soup 🙂

  7. ChgoJohn August 18, 2011 at 15:08 #

    What a great idea! I can only imagine how great your concentrate must taste and how wonderful your sense of accomplishment, having babysat those tomatoes from weeks-old seedling to jarred paste — even longer it you started your plants from seed.

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:48 #

      We started with seedlings, but right from the start I was planning all the things I wanted to do! We´ve just planted a second batch, hope it´s not too hot for them. Am feeling like a proud parent today!

  8. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 18, 2011 at 15:11 #

    That looks beautiful, I hope to get to the point where I have enough tomatoes to do this.

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:48 #

      Otherwise a few kilos of squishy tomatoes from the farmers market if they sell them off cheap would be perfect for this!

  9. JamieAnne August 18, 2011 at 15:54 #

    I do something similar, but I use the slow cooker on a liw setting overnight to cook the tomatoes, then I transfer them to the stove.

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 15:55 #

      That´s good to know as I just had a question about using the slow cooker!

      • lujos August 18, 2011 at 20:50 #

        That is a good idea, but won’t work for us. We live on top of a mountain in Andalucia, and are totally off grid. We generate our own electricity, hence a slow cooker might use up too much power for us!

      • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 23:15 #

        We´re up a mountain in Andalucia too, but connected to the grid fortunately. It´s a bit sporadic at times (especially in winter)…:)

  10. Mad Dog August 18, 2011 at 19:26 #

    That looks fantastic. It reminds me of staying in Normandy with some friends’ parents. They had the entire basement of their house as a second kitchen, solely for preserving tomatoes, peppers, anchovies etc. They even made their own home made cider and calvados. I was dismayed to discover that most people of 40 or younger no longer bothered and went to the supermarket instead.

    If you get too many tomatoes, you can always have your own mini Tomatina:
    http://www.latomatina.org/

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 19:32 #

      It´s such a shame that the old traditions are dying out, but I guess I´m lucky that I have both the space and time to do someof these things. Home made cider and calvados….I wish!!! And I´ve always wanted to go to the Tomatina….imagine the fun 🙂

  11. lujos August 18, 2011 at 20:49 #

    So glad I found your blog, and thanks for commenting on my blog! I live in Andalucia too, and made puree Monday, and yet more today! Then comes: canning tomatoes, making ketchup, making salsa, making curry sauce,the list goes on!!

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 23:13 #

      I guess the kitchens of Andalucia are busy this month doing exciting things with tomatoes!

  12. ambrosiana August 18, 2011 at 20:51 #

    I really admire your devotion of growing those wonderful tomatoes and making a concentrate out of them, not to mention those 5 long hours of slow cooking! Wow! I am so sure the end result is a delicious, great tasting, hearty tomato concentrate!

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 23:16 #

      It is very, very good although I do have moments of wondering “am I bonkers to do this when I could just buy it”, then I taste it and remember why I do it!

  13. spicegirlfla August 18, 2011 at 20:58 #

    Smug was exactly what I was thinking as I read this and pondered making it myself! I bet your kitchen must have smelled awesome! Sometimes I do make things by scratch regardless if it could be purchased for less; it’s made with love and that “smugness” just makes me smile! You’ll be making some great meals with this!

    • chicaandaluza August 18, 2011 at 23:16 #

      The kitchen did smell amazing and it was a kind of nice smugness…not too haughty!!

  14. Rachel August 19, 2011 at 04:11 #

    I think you have every right to be smug… I can *almost* smell it! Mmmm…!!

  15. Tandy August 19, 2011 at 10:29 #

    this sounds really easy – and I suppose you can do it while cooking something else so that it gets your attention every now and then without too much effort! Have a great weekend 🙂

  16. TBM August 19, 2011 at 14:51 #

    Looks wonderful!

  17. thefooddoctor August 19, 2011 at 22:19 #

    Surely worth the bragging..nothing like home made stuff..and I bet the house smells heavenly

    • chicaandaluza August 19, 2011 at 23:02 #

      Heavenly indeed – can´t get the smell out of my nose!

  18. tedgriffith August 19, 2011 at 23:55 #

    Ahh, I can almost smell the aroma from here! There is nothing quite like home grown and preserved food. Beautiful! 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 20, 2011 at 09:50 #

      Thank you so much for your kinds words and also for subscribing. Do hope you continue to enjoy what you read!

  19. Michi August 20, 2011 at 00:47 #

    Delicioso!!!!

  20. ....RaeDi August 22, 2011 at 00:15 #

    Beautiful pictures. I go through so much tomato paste in a year, this looks delicious! Your tomato plants were very good to you this summer! ….RaeDi

    • chicaandaluza August 22, 2011 at 00:33 #

      They were very good, and we now have a second planting. Big Man is very good at keeping them well looked after and I just water, pick and cook.

  21. Evie September 1, 2011 at 18:40 #

    Oh I’d feel smug too! We’re on the waiting list for an allotment and I can’t wait until we can grow our own vegetables. You can never have too many tomatoes!

    • chicaandaluza September 1, 2011 at 19:05 #

      I agree re the tomatoes…and in the UK you can grow things like peas which we can´t grow here…ooh and parsnips!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Calamares en Salsa de Tomate – Quick Braised Squid in a Garlicky Tomato Sauce « Chica Andaluza - June 8, 2012

    […] crushed cloves of garlic in olive oil, then add 1 kilo of crushed peeled tomatoes, 2 tablespoon of tomato purée, half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of sugar, plenty of fresh garlic, a glass of red wine and […]

  2. Almost Arroz a a Cubana | Chica Andaluza - June 10, 2013

    […] A tablespoon of tomato purée […]

  3. Beef and Mushroom Pie | Chica Andaluza - January 13, 2014

    […] 2 tablespoons of tomato purée […]

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