food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
Fabulous Homemade Tomato Concentrate inspired by Francis Lam’s blog Gilt Taste
I stopped buying and using those little tins of tomato ‘paste’ many years ago. There was that bitter metal edge to the flavor no matter the brand and it indeed had the texture of library paste. And then there were always the cute solutions to what the hell to do with the remaining gunk after one had opened the can. It was never worth it.
Thank you Francis for renaming this ‘concentrate’ and detailing your technique! Believe me this homemade version is smooth, rich, and a bit spicy. The taste is fabulous! I like it so much I think I will be making more before the end of the season.
Here is my step by step version.
I have a big garden with over 25 tomato plants overflowing their 5 foot tall wire enclosures and producing more and more fruit every day as the season continues to come on strong.
So I used almost 10 lbs of tomatoes. In this first attempt I boosted the optional flavors to one large onion and two big cloves of Elephant Garlic chopped fine and sautéed in half a cup or so of olive oil. Next time I think I’ll add more.
The resulting puree filled my 5 qt heavy pot to the very top. I didn’t strain the puree – I don’t even blanch and peel canned whole tomatoes.
As the concentrate began to get very thick I covered the pot with my spatter guard – the moisture could continue to cook away but the volcano type blops did not decorate my stove top!
This is what it looked like close to finished. Using the lowest of flames it took two cooking sessions over two days – I didn’t get the batch on the stove till 4 pm-ish so it took me two sessions. Next time I’ll start early in the morning!
And here it is finished; thick enough to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
Francis freezes his finished concentrate in 2 oz. containers. I decided to use my ice-cube trays to make frozen tomato cubes stored in a zip top bag. (Having outdated ice-cube trays tucked away in a box is a good reason why you should never throw away old kitchen tools! : )
After an overnight in the freezer my first batch is bagged and ready for use all winter.