|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Tomato purée is silky smooth, and free of any seeds or skin that tend to make their way into chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce. It freezes beautifully, keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or can be canned, as explained below (note: canning tomatoes is one of the only times you'll need to use bottled lemon juice - you want its reliable acid level when canning tomatoes).
The amounts are flexible here: you can make 1 to 6 pints using the same method depending on how many tomatoes you have on hand.
- Fresh, ripe tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds for each pint jar)
- If you're canning:
- 1 pint jar, lid, and ring for every 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice for each pint jar)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this tomato purée and canning process is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.
Make the Tomato Purée
Starting with clean, dry tomatoes, halve smaller tomatoes and roughly chop larger tomatoes. Remember, these are all going to be puréed, so don't worry about even chopping—you're cutting them just so they release their liquid and start cooking down a bit faster.
Put all the tomatoes in a pot.
Bring them to a boil—as the temperature in the pot increases, the tomatoes will release some of their liquid as everything heats up, providing their own liquid in which to cook.
Reduce the heat to maintain a steady and active simmer of gentle small bubbles popping up here and there.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes start to break down, 10 to 15 minutes.
To reduce the risk of burns, let the mixture cool first. Then run the tomato mixture through a food mill or whirl quickly in a blender or food processor.
Next, run through a fine-mesh sieve. This removes the seeds and bits of skin and makes for a truly smooth real purée.
If you had fairly watery tomatoes, you may want to put the purée back in the pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook to reduce it to the texture you want. Taste it along the way—you want a nice, bright tomato flavor along with a texture that reads "puree."
To chill or freeze: Transfer purée to sealable container(s) and chill or freeze until ready to use.
How to Can Tomato Purée
Bring a large canning kettle full of water to a boil.
Sterilize the pint jars by boiling them for 10 minutes.
Then allow to air dry.
Soften the lids by simmering them for a few minutes.
Put 1/4 teaspoon citric acid or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice in each pint jar.
Bring the purée back to a simmer.
Then fill each jar with hot tomato purée, leaving about 1/2-inch head-space at the top of the jar.
Set the lids on the jars and secure them with the rings.
Lower into the canning kettle and boil for 35 minutes.
Remove, let cool, and store in a cool dark cupboard for up to six months.