Tomato Purée

More tomatoes than recipes? Afraid that a new form of antibiotic is developing in the back of your fridge? Tomato purée is your answer.

It has been a very tasty British Tomato Week 2016 and one of us here at Pork and Gin (the one who really really likes tomatoes) has had a great time!

We have done all sorts of things with this delightful little fruit. It’s versatile enough to fit in with almost every savoury dish, can hold it’s own as the main event with a sprinkle of salt and a crunch of black pepper, or maybe slightly less commonly make a juicy sweet appearance in desserts! One could (and we have) write many words that laud the myriad of meals that tomatoes participate in, but what if:

  1. You have a sudden glut of tomatoes in the kitchen and they are in danger of growing penicillin.

  2. Tomato purée in a tube or jar is not exciting enough for your culinary adventures.

  3. You wish there was a way to alleviate the stress and concern that point one and two are causing you.

The simple answer dear friends is to make your own tomato purée!!

Even if you are not bothered by furry tomatoes or ready made stuff, there is something quite satisfying about making your own stash of purée that you can freeze and have to hand. Temporarily (unless you decide this is the way forward) banish the dreaded cup of unused chopped tomatoes lurking at the back of the fridge creating it’s own micro-climate. Say goodbye to those dented tins leaching a slightly metallic taste into their contents! (Editors note: If you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to make your own, then it is always better to buy tomato puree in jars than tins or tubes.)

And so… to purée

It is worth noting that the main difference between tomato purée and tomato paste/sauce is in the consistency – purée is thicker than tomato ‘sauce’, but is not quite as thick as tomato ‘paste’. It is essentially nothing more than condensed tomato and is cooked with very few additives.

Based on the above statement, to create the purest form of purée you would just boil some tomatoes until you have a mushy goop and then sieve it to remove the seeds.

There are a couple of very slight changes that you could employ to make life easier/better though, so without further ado here we go.

You will need:

  • A pot
  • Some tomatoes (it works best if they are red and ripe)
  • A little sugar (to counter any acidity)
  1. The first thing you will want to do is skin the tomatoes. Score the bottoms and put them into a large bowl, boil a kettle and pour the boiling water over the tomatoes. This will allow you to get the skins off with minimum loss of actual tomato. You should scoop them out one by one with something other than your bare hands and the skins should slide off (the tomatoes) with a gentle pull.

  2. Depending on the size of the fruit, pop whole into a blender and give them a good whizz, or if you are using big tomatoes you may want to chop them a bit to save stressing your food processor.

  3. *Variation*If you don’t want to be a purée purist, you could blend the skinned tomatoes in a food processor with garlic, maybe some fresh herbs and if you like a bit of fire, you could also add a couple of chilies at this point. Remove the seeds if you don’t want to go full hellfire!

  4. Pass the smush (pure or adulterated) through a sieve to remove the seeds, and then pop into the pot with a little sugar; heat gently until the tomato pulp has reduced to a thick paste.

  5. Leave to cool and then you can store it in a jar (which will last at the most a week) or divide into portions and freeze these which will keep for up to a month with minimal degradation of flavour 🙂

Use at will in your favourite tomato based dishes whatever they might be and ENJOY!

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