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Cooking + Entertaining

Tomato puree: the recipe for homemade preserves

Tomato puree: the recipe for homemade preserves

The tomato puree is one of the homemade preserves most loved of the Italian tradition. Typical above all of the regions of Southern Italy, it is prepared during the summer months, when the tomatoes are at the peak of their taste and aroma, and can then be used during the following months, just like for peeled tomatoes. Making it at home is very simple: just follow the few and carefully simple steps to obtain a delicious and above all safe preserves. In our recipe the tomatoes are blanched in a pot, passed through a vegetable mill to remove the skins, and then transferred to the previously sterilized glass jars together with some basil leaf.

Once the jars are filled, they are placed in a pot full of water, well wrapped with clean cloths, and then subjected to a process of pasteurization, essential for creating the vacuum and not incurring any health risks. To obtain an impeccable result, the choice of the variety of tomatoes is equally important: you can use the classic San Marzano or, alternatively, the coppery, the elongated Roman or even the cherry tomatoes, for a very sweet and velvety puree. In any case, whatever the type chosen, these must be intact, very firm, free from bruises and at the right stage of ripeness. If possible, buy organic and zero-kilometer vegetables, even better if from a trusted farmer.

Each family has its own recipe. Our preparation is rather neutral and only requires the addition of a few basil leaves; there are those who prefer to flavor with oniongarlic or others aromatic herbs, to make the flavor of the tomato sauce even more intense. If you decide to follow our recipe, you can then cook the sauce with a sautéed onion, garlic or shallot. If this is slightly acidic, add a pinch of bicarbonatea really useful grandmother’s trick.

Follow the instructions for sterilization and storage of the jars, the tomato puree can be kept in the pantry for several months or used to make a gravy appetizing with which to season pasta, risotto or lasagna sheets.

How to prepare the tomato sauce

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly, rubbing the skin, removing the stalks and discarding the damaged ones 1.

Cut the tomatoes in half 2 and eliminate the seeds.

Collect the seeds and water from the tomatoes in a glass jar 3; you can reuse them to wet stale bread or friselle seasoning everything with oil and salt.

Take a thick-bottomed pot and arrange the tomatoes. Put on the stove and cook for about 5 minutes, just long enough to sear them 4.

Turn them over often to keep them from attacking 5.

Transfer the tomatoes to a vegetable mill and remove the skins 6.

You will need to get a smooth and not too liquid sauce 7; if not, you can put it back on the fire for a few minutes. Meanwhile, boil the jars for about ten minutes in a pot with boiling water to sterilize them.

Once ready, drain the jars and dry them perfectly. Insert a basil leaf on the bottom and, with the help of a funnel, fill them with the sauce 8. I recommend it is important to leave two fingers from the edge of the jar.

If you want a more fragrant puree, add more basil 9.

Place the jars inside a pot, wrapping them in tea towels to prevent them from breaking 10.

Cover them with water and cook for 40 minutes starting from boiling.

Once cooked, drain the jars, dry them and check that the cap has gone under pressure 11. That is the sign that the preserves are vacuum packed.

If you like, you can arrange colored tin covers 12 and label them with the date of preparation.

Your tomato puree is ready to be stored or used 13.

Advice

To verify that the vacuum packed is done correctly, press the cap: if you do not hear the “click clack”, it means that it has formed in the right way.

In our recipe the cooking method tomatoes before filling the jars. You can skip this step and pass the tomatoes directly to the blender, without cooking them. In this case the compound will be more liquid and it will be necessary to filter the pulp with a clean cloth separating it from the tomato water.

storage

Tomato puree can be stored for one year, in a cool, dry place away from heat sources. Always check that the vacuum has been formed correctly: for this reason it is important to always leave two fingers between the sauce and the cap, so that the jars go under pressure. Once opened, put it in the refrigerator and consume it within 2-3 days.

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