After I was married, my mom and my mother-in-law would always give me a few bottles of the tomato purée they had processed that year. As years went by, my mom and mother-in-law stopped preserving tomatoes as they were getting to an age when it was too tiring for them. I realized then that this tradition would not continue unless I began making it a ritual in my family. So this year, I spent a day preserving tomatoes tomato with the help of my good friend Carla.
We scored and blanched the tomatoes. Then we each took turns at processing 30 pounds of tomatoes through the electric tomato machine my husband and I purchased when we first got married. This is an old Bialetti model and is now discontinued. Today there are many different types of electric tomato machines made out of stainless steel on the market.
The function of the tomato machine is to separates the seeds and peels from the juice. The tomato juice is boiled until thickened and then funneled it in the sterilized jars and processed in a hot water bath canner. That day we processed 16 half pint jars of tomato purée.
I felt such a sense of accomplishment as I looked at the jars of tomato purée. It made me realize that preserving tomatoes to use throughout the year not only develops a-back-to-basic skill but a wonderful way to connect with family and friends.
Fast forward to 2016
My parents and in-laws are not longer with us now. This year my husband planted tomatoes in the garden that belonged to his parents to continue the tradition of preserving tomatoes on Labour Day. Hopefully one day, my daughters will participate to continue this family tradition.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 jars (500 grams each) tomato purée
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 basil leaves
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a medium size Dutch oven or sauce pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the chopped onion and cook until the onion is soft (about 2 minutes).
- Add the chopped garlic, stir and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and tomato purée.
- Season with the salt, crushed pepper flakes and basil.
- Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
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