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traditional way to make tomato paste

 
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This is quite amazing! Watch how they dry out tomato sauce into tomato paste with the power of the sun.



Is this something you might consider trying?

I imagine a lot of folks just make tomato sauce, not paste, though I could be wrong.

 
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You're certainly right in my case. When I could still eat tomatoes I never could figure out how they could cook tomatoes down so thick without burning. Now I know.

The nice thing about that technique is that I can also see it working for other vegetable and fruit purees.

Around Halloween you can find the old huge styles of winter squash sold for more interesting jack-o-lanterns. The seem to be left to mature more in the field before picking than most of those sold for eating and I have starting buying some to use in the kitchen. I think I will try this technique on them to maximize the storage space.

(I love the word maximize)
 
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Casie, I think you're spot-on about using this method for other fruits and veg.

It just now dawned on me that perhaps they tend it so much (making the rivulets, turning/mixing it, etc.) that all the activity discourages bugs. Or the bay leaf or other seasonings might help - ?

If you try it with squash (or anything!), Casie, I'd love to see pictures!
 
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Interesting process. Thanks.

Can someone answer a lazy mans question. Can the straining be skipped? Like put the cooked tomatos in a vitamix and puree the skins and seeds. I've made sauce and wondered why you couldn't shortcut it in this way(sauce or paste).  Sundried tomatoes still have them and they are used for cooking albeit in less total concentration in a given recipe
.
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:Interesting process. Thanks.

Can someone answer a lazy mans question. Can the straining be skipped? Like put the cooked tomatos in a vitamix and puree the skins and seeds. I've made sauce and wondered why you couldn't shortcut it in this way(sauce or paste).  Sundried tomatoes still have them and they are used for cooking albeit in less total concentration in a given recipe
.



Good question! I don't even think it's a lazy question. I'd consider it a frugal question, and/or a reducing waste question, with using the whole fruit as a noble goal.

I usually leave the tomato skins in my sauces and soups, usually without even pureeing, though the skins do separate, so that might not be a happy thing for some folks. I'd be tempted to leave all the parts in a paste, too, though I imagine that straining them out creates a finer flavor and/or texture.

Or, I wonder if it's like the story Uncle Mud tells of a family making their grandmother's roast recipe. The following generations always made it according to grandma, including cutting the two ends off the roast. After decades of the family following this recipe/method closely, someone finally asked about the cutting the ends off part. Grandma said that was only to get it to fit in her one and only, small roasting pan!

I wonder if some tomato skins had some blight scarring, or something on the skin, and folks starting skinning and straining their tomatoes to remove that unfavorable texture.  

I'd love to hear from other cooks if they prefer the taste of skinned and/or strained tomatoes.


 
wayne fajkus
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The seeds is what im interested in. I cant imagine the skin imparting a taste. May actually add to it. Seeds is probably a big percentage of the total once boiled down.
 
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I made tomato paste for the first time this year because of limited freezer space and no space in the kitchen to can sauce. Timing wise, I did it over two evenings because the tomatoes needed to be processed and I still had work.

Cook down tomatoes like for sauce - I just cut the tops off, throw them in my largest pot with a little oil, salt and sugar and let them boil/simmer for three hours. Since the seeds and skin impart taste, I wanted to do this step too.

Run them through a food mill. Let cool out overnight and throw in the fridge before work the next morning.

Preheat oven to 350, get two baking sheets and put the sauce on them. I did about a gallon of sauce onto both pans because they had a good lip. if you use an actual cake pan with a higher lip, it'll take longer.

Bake in the oven, mixing every 30 mins and switching the pans on the racks until enough water has evaporated. Move it to one sheet and mix every 20 mins until brick red. Usually takes 3 to 4 hours.

Let cool overnight.

I then froze mine by plopping spoonfuls onto a parchment paper covered pan and then tossed them all into one plastic bag. They form together a little but because there's so little water, it's really easy to scrape the paste out with a spoon or break chunks off.

I also did a quick test with stove top, I did a second batch with 1/4 of the sauce in the pot and 3/4 in the oven and they were cooked down in the same amount of time. It was the fastest and easiest way to cook down a ton of tomatoes with limited space and time. I think each batch was around 25 pounds. And the paste is delicious. It's really easy to throw in with some liquid and get a sauce.
 
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