Roasted Tomato Paste

roasted tomato paste

I use tomato paste all the time. Sometimes I need up to half a cup, sometimes just a little bit. When I make my own, I can store it in the sizes I tend to need most, so I have no more partly used cans in the fridge. Sometimes I have a huge batch of tomatoes, but when I’m working with about 10 pounds, I make oven roasted tomato paste.

The hardest part of the process is squishing the tomatoes, separating the pulp from the skin and seeds. I use the fruit strainer attachment to my KitchenAid stand mixer, but you can use a hand-crank version, as I did for years. If you process a lot of tomatoes – and I do – a motorized strainer is a blessing.

I make tomato paste the easy way: I roast it in a wide flat pan until the consistency is just right. I like to keep some in small (4-ounce) jars, and some I’ll freeze into tomato paste cubes, which are perfect when you need just a spoonful.

You may decide to make tomato paste as a part of a big tomato canning day. In that case, the preparation is the same: wash, quarter, and crush the tomatoes.

wash and quarter the tomatoes

When you wash the tomatoes, you’re not only getting dirt and debris off the outside, but checking each fruit for blemishes or moldy spots. Soft or split tomatoes are fine to use, but cut out any black or spoiled spots. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in quarters, as they’ll fit through the strainer better.

crush and strain the tomatoes

Follow the directions for your specific strainer. You’ll want the squeezings (the remains) to be as dry as possible – I tend to put them back through the strainer once or even twice, to extract the most pulp that I possibly can. I use the fruit/vegetable strainer attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. At my house the seeds and skins go into the compost pile, though Joel MacCharles at wellpreserved.ca likes to dehydrate them and use the resulting tomato powder as a seasoning.

roast the pulp in a wide flat pan

When I can tomato paste, I do not use salt. Simply put the tomato pulp in a wide flat non-aluminum (nonreactive) roasting pan so that you can evaporate the liquid. I like these 2.5 inch deep hotel pans, which are easy to clean – the rounded corners help immensely. One of these pans will hold the pulp from 10 pounds of tomatoes – if you have more than that, use at least two pans. (NOTE: a half-bushel of tomatoes weighs about 25 pounds) Put the pan(s) in a hot oven at 425˚F and leave them to roast for up to 4 hours. Stir occasionally. When you can draw a spatula through the pulp and an empty streak is left behind, and is not filled in again, the tomato paste is ready.

put the paste in small jars, add citric acid

I find a wide flat pan an inch deep in tomato paste to be awkward to handle, so first, I scrape the hot pulp into a bowl or big measuring cup. Ladle the paste into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. I mostly use 4-oz jars, though according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you may use up to 8-oz (half pint) jars. Add citric acid to each jar: 1/8 teaspoon for 4-oz jars, and 1/4 teaspoon for 8-oz jars.

seal properly

Place lids and bands on jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes. The time is the same for both 4 and 8 ounce jars. Let cool, label, remove bands, and store in a cool dark place.

freeze little cubes

I mentioned that I often need a little teeny bit of tomato paste, so I freeze paste cubes. I like to use a flexible covered silicone ice cube tray so I have a handy supply.

 

roasted tomato paste

Roasted Tomato Paste

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tomatoes, DIY, roast, oven-roasted, preserving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 14 4-oz jars
Make tomato paste at home: roast it in a big flat pan.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 pounds ripe paste (Roma) tomatoes
  • citric acid

Instructions

  • Wash and cut the tomatoes. Check each fruit, cut out any blemishes or moldy spots. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in quarters.
  • Put the tomatoes through a strainer – follow the directions for the one you have. I use an attachment for a KitchenAid stand mixer. Extract the most pulp that you can.
  • When I can tomato paste, I do not use salt. Simply put the tomato pulp in a wide flat non-aluminum (nonreactive) roasting pan so that you can evaporate the liquid. I like these 2.5 inch deep hotel pans, which are easy to clean – the rounded corners help immensely. One of these pans will hold the pulp from 10 pounds of tomatoes – if you have more than that, use at least two pans. (NOTE: a half-bushel of tomatoes weighs about 25 pounds)
  • Put the pan(s) in a hot oven at 425˚F and leave them to roast for up to 4 hours. Stir occasionally. When you can draw a spatula through the pulp and an empty streak is left behind, and is not filled in again, the tomato paste is ready.
  • I find a wide flat pan an inch deep in tomato paste to be awkward to handle, so first, I scrape the hot pulp into a bowl or big measuring cup. 
  • Ladle the tomato paste into prepared 4-oz jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. While I prefer the smaller jars, the National Center for Home Food Preservation says you may can tomato paste in (at largest) 8-oz jars. Add citric acid to each jar: ⅛ teaspoon for 4-oz jars, and ¼ tsp for 8-oz (half pint) jars.
  • Place lids and bands on jars. Process in a boiling water bath 45 minutes (the time is the same for 4-oz and 8-oz jars.)
  • Let cool, label, remove bands, and store in a dark place.

Notes

I like to take some of my tomato paste and freeze it in a silicon ice cube tray. It's so very handy to have a bit of paste to use as needed. A standard ice cube tray's wells hold roughly 2 tablespoons.

4 Comments

  1. When you say to add citric acid in each jar, do you stir it into each paste jar or place at the bottom of the jar with the paste ladled on top? Wanting to do this right 🙂

  2. Maurita, your blog looks great!

    • That’s so kind of you to say! I’m very pleased with the redesign, ESPECIALLY the indexed recipes.

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Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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