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Dressing and sauce recipes

How to make passata tomato puree?

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 3 hours
yields 3 Litres

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Grown and Gathered
Words by Amandine Paniagua

Recipe best prepared End of Summer

Published February 8 2022


2 to 4 kg over-ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice


First, cut the ripe tomatoes in halves or chunks, loosely removing the core. Place the tomatoes in a large pot over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to avoid the tomatoes sticking and burning at the bottom of the pot.

Simmer for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your stove potency and volume of tomatoes. Keep stirring from time to time until the liquid rises to the top and the tomatoes break into pieces.

Blend the mixture with a wooden spoon, and simmer until reaching the consistency of a thick and silky puree, approximately 2 hours. It is a work of patience. Again, make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, sterilize your jars and or bottles. Bring a large quantity of water to a boil. Spread your jars and/or bottles (group them by height) with the lids in a large pot that you will hard-cover to retain the steam. Pour the boiling water in the pot (not in the jars and or bottles) and cover. Let it sit there until you fill it in with the sauce.

Once your tomato puree is ready, quickly add the lemon juice and mix. Carefully remove the jars and/or bottles from the pot. Fill in your containers with the sauce up to 1 cm from the top. Ensure your puree is always hot (approximately 80℃) to avoid bacteria development.

Clean the edge of each container thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth and tighten the lid. Screw the cap, but do not over-tighten to leave space to create a vacuum seal. Leave the jars and/or bottles at room temperature.

Once cooled, check that the caps have sucked down. If they haven’t, try to re-bottle and if it is still not working, change the lid and bottle again.

This tomato puree will keep up in a cool, dark place for 1 to 2 years unopened. Once opened, store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Passata, or like my mom would say, Tomata, is a flavorful thick tomato puree so easy to prepare yourself, to be enjoyed in the winter months when tomatoes are out of season. Bottling can be daunting at first, yet you won’t regret the hours spent cooking. Our lentil bolognese was so uplifted, succulent and nutritious thanks to the addition of this passata tomato puree. Following the steps put together by Matt and Lentil from Grown and Gathered in Australia, we tried their method two years ago already. It is crazy how time flies, and we finished our last bottle during the recent lockdown in New Zealand.

Where is passata coming from?

Coming from South America in the XVth century, tomato originates from the Aztec word “Tomatl”. Thought to be poisonous, it was brought to Europe at the time as a decorative fruit until its nutritive properties were rediscovered in the Western world in the XVIIIth century. An essential staple in Southern European cuisine, tomatoes are prepared and transformed in many ways, including passata tomato puree in Italie. In the Italian language, passata means puree, a creamy and sweet puree in which tomatoes were cooked prior, to deacidify and unleash their flavours. We can’t say that passata is a sauce, but a base, which will make proper tomato sauce when diluted with water and added herbs and spices.

Passata tomato puree, the ideal bottling recipe for beginners

Making passata yourself is far from being difficult. It is about cooking a bunch of tomatoes for a couple of hours, then sterilizing your containers, pouring the puree and screwing the cap. That is all. What makes this recipe ideal for starters is also the main product, tomatoes. A highly acidic fruit, the risk of having bacteria development bottling tomato is reasonably low. And to top it all, we added some lemon juice to keep acid levels higher for extra peace of mind.

We also love that this passata tomato puree bottling recipe is long-lasting unopened on the shelf. We had made hours two years ago, and between shifting houses, multiple household issues to manage and occupied lives, we ended up opening our bottles only last year! Still, our passata was so tasty!

To speed up the process, on step one, before cooking, place the tomatoes into a food processor and process until you reach a chunk puree consistency. Then transfer in a large pot over high heat, until boil, continuously stirring, for approximately 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, and let simmer over a roiling boil for 2 hours like in the main recipe. We tried both options, and the results were pretty similar in texture and taste.

Bottle your tomatoes at the end of the Summer season; when the fruits are drunk of sun, they are the tastiest. Ours were coming from a box on sale. We got a high volume of tomatoes for a reduced price, which feels even better. With bottling or canning, the idea is not to buy tomatoes in the Winter and early Spring months; the passata is a substitute. Like people used to do before the global economy rose. So what to do with your passata tomato puree? We love passata to make lentil bolognese, and all sorts of pasta. You can also use it to make tomato soup, homemade pizzas, stews and lasagnas. Possibilities are broad with passata.

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