Do you ever buy something at the grocery store with every intention of using your new bounty only to promptly forget about it once it is safely in your home and have it languish while you are distracted with other things? This seems to happen to Sweet Baboo and I a lot – most recently with a lovely bunch of tomatoes on the vine. They were meant for our latest favourite – chicken tacos. Somehow those tacos did not happen and the tomatoes became a decoration on the top shelf of the refrigerator.
Today was their day. I looked in on them and noticed their plump, juicy little skins at the peak of ripeness and knew they could wait no longer. While I love tomatoes raw, they are actually even healthier for you when they are cooked – the antioxidant lycopene is boosted that way. What better reason to make something I love? Homemade tomato paste it is!
Tomato paste doesn’t need to have anything more than tomatoes in it, but this is what I use:
- very ripe tomatoes (I had three to work with)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- greek seasoning
First, wash the tomatoes and dice them before throwing them in a small saucepan.
Then slice up 4 cloves of garlic and toss them in the pan.
Finally add a generous helping (about 1 Tbsp) of greek seasoning.
Turn the burner up to medium heat and let the tomatoes start to cook down and release their juices. This is when the kitchen starts to smell like an Italian restaurant – I love it!
As the sauce cooks, test the garlic periodically. If the pieces are too firm to cut with the side of a spoon, you need to wait a little longer. Once you CAN do this, take the pan off the heat and blend the sauce well.
Return the pan to the heat and let it come to a slow boil. Stir it frequently to help release more water, thus thickening the sauce. After about half an hour, the bubbles will become volcanic and will try to gift you with tomato lava all over your hands. Stir faster!
The sauce will continue to reduce and it is really up to you how thick you want it to be.
When the volume was down to about one cup, I poured the molten hot tomato mixture into a sterilized jar.
The lid went on and the little jar stood on the counter to cool before going into the refrigerator.
This little jar is two generous servings. Each 1/2 cup serving has this nutrition:
- Calories: 42
- Fat: 0.4 g
- Carbs: 12.2 g
- Protein: 2.3 g
Making your own tomato paste is a definite improvement healthwise – this little batch has less than half the calories of the kind I buy at the grocery store!