Making Tomato Puree
by, 09-21-2008 at 04:40 PM (10265 Views)
This blog is mostly for Motherhubbard and Scher since they were interested. But of course anyone might find this interesting.
This is our home process for making and canning (really jarring) tomato puree. This is an annual ritual for my family. The only year of my lifetime when we didn't do this was the year my father's health had deteriorated and ultimately passed away. That was two years ago. But I don't recall any other year of my 46 years were we didn't can tomatoes.
First you have to buy the tomatoes. The type to get are the plum tomatoes. They are commonly called Italian plum tomates around here. This year we bought five bushels. Here are the bushels.
and up close:
First thing is to go through them to pick out any rotten ones and then you have to wash them thoroughly. My mother usually does this the night before.
Next is to heat up the tomatoes so that the skin breaks and they become nice and soft.
This is the pulping machine. We've had this for years. It's hand cranked. My aunts and uncles have one with an electric motor.
Then you have to pulp the tomatoes into puree. That's my mother by the way.
Once we fill a pot full of puree, we start jarring. Each jar gets a half a table spoon of salt and a large basil leaf.
Then you fill the jars and seal them.
That's my hand, not my mother's. This is really a three man job. When my father was alive and healthy, he would do the cranking, I would fill the machine and my mother would attend the boiling tomatoes and fill the jars. It's just me and mom this year. My brother sometimes would take up the slack but he was away this year.
Finally you need to pasturize. Pasturizing kills any germs inside and as long as the seal isn't broken, the puree can last years. To pasturize you need to bring the internal temperature to a boil. We put jars into a pot and fill it with water and bring it to a boil and hold the boiling water for 35 minutes.
Where did we get the 35 inutes time? I have no idea. I have questioned it but unless I can run some experiments to reduce it I'll have to go on faith that it's correct. Then you have jars of tomatoe puree that lasts for the entire year.
Each bushel should yield 22 mason jars. So we got about 110 jars out this year. We've had bigger years. We were able to do this in one full day, morning to evening.