Making Tomato Passata at Home

 

a2 Making Tomato Passata At Home

Italian food has gained a reputation being fresh, tasty and homemade with an emphasis on family style.

I know an Italian family here in Orange who, I must say has been really generous to me. They have been showering me with fresh produce from their garden and sweet treats such as homemade crostoli and cannoli.  But today, I’m not going to talk about the famous Italian desserts. Instead, I’d like to share with you one of the important ingredients in the Italian kitchens – passata.

When I first featured passata on my blog, I have some of you asking me what passata is. I’ve explained to you in words with some links, but now I can do better – by showing you how it was made.

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Just so you know, there’s no exact measurement to make passata for this post. Mrs C used a stockpot full of roma tomatoes from her garden, which yielded 6 x 500g bottles of passata. The tomatoes used to make passata have to be the fleshy type (i.e less seeds) like roma and oxheart tomatoes. She also explained to me that those that were harvested in late summer/early autumn will contain more seeds than the ones that were harvested in mid-summer.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:-

  • Roma/Oxheart tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Basil *optional*
  • Other equipment: 1 pillow case, 1 single old bed sheet (or quilt cover), passata machine*, sterilised bottles, funnel, a pot that is big enough to contain the bottles

* The passata machine on this blog is a mechanical version which is rich with family history but you can electric ones online or eBay.

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THE PROCESS & MRS C TIMELINE AS A GUIDE:

9:00am: Fill the tomatoes into a pillow case. Then boil the tomatoes to loosen the skin in a large stockpot. Since we are talking about a large quantity here, the estimated duration is about 1 hour.

Drain the water. Place the pillow case filled tomatoes in a colander, sit them over the stockpot and set aside. This will allow the acid (the yellow liquid) to drain from the tomatoes which will result in a sweeter passata.

3:00pm: With the tomatoes are still in the pillow case and they were being cool over a period of time, squeeze the tomatoes gently to drain any excess acid.

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{That’s how the acid looked like}

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{That’s how the tomatoes looked after boiling, draining and ready to be passed through the passata machine}

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Gradually remove the tomatoes from the pillow case and put them through the passata machine. Do the same with all the tomatoes.  Tip: for the last batch of the tomatoes, you may find there are insufficient tomatoes to push through the machine. What you can do is take some of the tomato scraps (on the end of the machine) and put it back to funnel of the machine. This way you can ensure the all the fresh tomatoes will go through.

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Salt the passata to taste. It’s better to under salt in this step as you can always add more later when using it in dishes.

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Bottling: Ladle the passata through a funnel into a bottle. As an option, you can add a basil leaf half through filling up the bottle. Repeat this step with all the passata.

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Bottles of passata were then being sterilised by boiling them in a pot. Arrange the bottles in a large stockpot, making sure each bottle was cushioned by wrapping a bed linen around each bottle. This is to ensure the bottles do not knock against each other when the water has reached the boiling point. To give you an idea how long this would take, it took about an hour to reach the boiling point over high heat, then turn the flame to simmer and boil for 2 hours. Allow the bottles to cool in a pot overnight before storing them in the pantry.

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This may seem like a lot of hard work and time for just a couple of bottles of passata. After all, a store bought passata is inexpensive. The cheapest I have seen was $1.50 for a 500g (17 oz) bottle in Harris Farm Markets. On the surface, you are better off buying from the supermarket. But if you look within the process of making food from scratch, it is about creating food memories with your next generation, quoting from Mrs C.  The batch she made above was for me to share with you on the blog. Usually in the peak of tomato harvest, passata making was an even bigger production than the above which often times, involved family members. What better reason to have a family get together than creating food memories together that will be passed down to generations!

Thanks Mrs C for inviting me to your kitchen and share your knowledge with me. :)

 

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Category: Cook

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Article by: Emily Tan

I have been in Australia for about 10 9 years (originally from Malaysia - yep, another Malaysian in the food bloggers’ pool! ). Due to the nature of my beloved’s job, I have been leading a nomadic life, hopping from one regional area to another until we decided to settle down and have lots of babies. The blog started in early March 2010 when I was in Orange, New South Wales. I have just moved from Tasmania which I was there for 7 years. To retain my old job, I have also started to work from home as an accountant. Although working from home may sound like a dream to some of you, I think it depends on the nature of the “work from home”. Personally, I felt too isolated working remotely as an accountant. Then a close friend, who is a seasoned blogger, has encouraged me to start a blog and my beloved (he is the BEST!!!!) got the ball rolling by setting up the URL, hosting service and wordpress for me. Contemplating between food and fashion in which both are equally my favourite topics, I have decided on food because food bloggers seem to be nicer people, haha! Just kidding!! I feel fashion can be an intimidating topic for me especially I dress for comfort rather than style. I bet no one wants to see me in an oversized T-shirt and Pj pants in every blog post.