Ok, ok. I know this isn’t technically tomato paste. It’s a total food preservation hack, but I love finding those. Especially when it comes to getting the most bang for my garden-fresh-tomato-buck!
You know how happy I have been about finding a way to get 3 quarts of the most delicious tomato sauce with only 6 pounds of tomatoes? Well, this recipe makes me just as happy.
Here’s the problem with making your own tomato paste as I see it- I don’t like growing paste tomatoes. I don’t think they taste all that good and so the homemade tomato products made from them just don’t knock my socks off. Not only that but if you thought it took forever to make tomato sauce only to get a piddly little yield, it’s even worse when making tomato paste. Hours and hours of time, pounds, and pounds of tomatoes, for what? A couple half pints? Honestly, I don’t even bother.
Well, this tomato “paste” is so much more delicious, so incredibly simple to make, and while the yield isn’t stellar, at least you don’t have to grow an extra plant simply for making the paste. I don’t know about your cherry tomatoes, but mine just keep giving and growing. More than we need so this method is an excellent way to preserve their abundance and flavor into the coming colder months.
How simple is it to make them? Let me tell you…
-Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and fill it with cherry tomatoes.
-Roast them for an hour or so.
-Puree the roasted tomatoes & strain the seeds (if you want to).
-Then freeze or can them.
Pretty rough, huh?
A few tips:
• Line your pan. Trust me, line your pan. The sugars on the tomatoes will burn quickly and they are real hard to clean off. Ideally, I’d use disposable trays, but normally just line them with foil, making sure they wrap up and around the edges. Parchment paper would work even better.
• During most of the roasting, the tomatoes will be releasing their liquid as steam. When it’s gone, they start to burn quickly so you’ll need to keep an eye on them. You don’t really want their sugars to burn to the bottom of the tray. It makes a mess. But if that happens, it happens. One of my trays burned a little this morning, I used it anyway. It’s still fine and once you add it to your recipe this winter, you’ll never even know.
• I have a cheap blender. If what I’m pureeing isn’t very wet, it doesn’t work very well. If your blender isn’t up to the task either, the fix is easy. Toss a small, fresh tomato in there. The tomato paste won’t be quite as thick, but it’s still pretty thick! (See the two previous images.) I tried it with an immersion blender this morning and it wasn’t sure if it wanted to work, but eventually we got the job done without the extra fresh tomato.
• You can strain the seeds from your tomato paste if you want to. Last year, I didn’t bother. Today I used my foley mill to remove the seeds, but it added an extra step so I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. I never noticed the seeds in recipes last year and even if I did, I feel like I would appreciate the reminder that they were from homegrown tomatoes.
• I freeze my tomato paste in 1/2 cup portions in this silicone mold. Normally, I use tomato paste by at least the 1/4 cup, but I’ve got a big family so silicone ice cube trays might be a better fit for you. If you wanted to can your tomato paste, I suggest adapting this method to fit this recipe.
Don’t judge when you read the recipe below. Does preheating the oven really count as a step? The way I see it is pushing a couple buttons, lining the baking sheet, and tossing the tomatoes on there all counts as one step: Prep work. It’s takes like 2 minutes.
Roasted Cherry Tomato Paste
- fresh cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Completely line a baking sheet with foil or parchment (or use a disposable baking sheet).
- Fill the baking sheet with cherry tomatoes and roast them until they have released all of their liquid, but before they burn (some blackened spots are ok). This will take an hour or so.
- Scrape the tomatoes into a blender and puree them until they are smooth. If your blender struggles with the puree, add a handful of fresh cherry tomatoes or one medium-sized fresh tomato for some extra liquid to help out.
- If you'd like to remove the seeds, run the puree through a foley mill.
- To freeze the tomato paste, divide the puree among a silicone mini mold or ice cube trays.
Do you have any favorite food preservation hacks?