Tomato Conserve


Tomato Paste (Conserva)

Tomato-Paste-with-spatulaUsing a big kettle, put in about 10 pounds of tomatoes—ripe, even overripe—that you’ve squeezed so they’ve broken open. Add a bunch of parsley, a bunch of basil, and an equal amount of leafy stalks of celery. Use plenty of salt, which helps as a preservative, and don’t worry about oversalting since you can adjust to taste later when making a sauce.

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the tomatoes are completely done, about 45 minutes.  Dump the tomatoes and herbs into a colander and let the liquid fall out freely-don’t press on the mixture. (The liquid makes a good drink.) Then press the mixture through a food mill. The sauce will now be about the consistency of canned tomato sauce.

If there is plenty of sun, put the sauce in shallow trays or pans and place in the sun for a couple of days so that the sauce dehydrates. Stir it occasionally. When it is dry enough, the balls will be of deep burgundy color and the consistency of putty. Roll it into balls about the size of golf balls, put them in jars. cover with oil, and place the jars in the refrigerator. To make a sauce during the winter, just take out one of the balls and mix it with some broth. A half of a ball and a half cup of broth is a standard amount, but use as much or as little as you need.

If there is no sun, simmer the sauce after it has gone through the food mill to reduce it to the desired consistency. Then boil some canning jars, get the sauce up to a boil, and can and seal the sauce. After you open a jar, refrigerate what you don’t immediately use.