Tomato Purée

I worked with my mom and grandma one late summer afternoon to learn the fine art of canning tomatoes. It was so awesome to learn such a fine craft, but it was sooooooo much work, and something that I just don’t have the time for these days. Well, one day, my Grandma brought over some puréed tomatoes that had been in her freezer for practically a year. I cautiously used them in a chili and it was amazing!!! The taste was so much fresher than the canned tomatoes and freezing is so much better at preserving the nutrients too. What I like most about this method is being able to do small batches as my tomatoes ripen.

Ingredients/Materials

  • 10-12 Tomatoes
  • Cilantro (Half of a bunch)
  • Parsley (Half of a bunch)
  • Optional: Dill (Half of a bunch)
  • Optional: Fresh Garlic (4 pods)
  • 2 T. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • Large Bowl
  • Blender

Directions

  1. Cut up the tomatoes into quarters or eighths (depending on how efficient your blender is).
  2. Smush and crush them into bottom of the blender.
  3. Cover and blend in short pulses. You may need to smush the tomatoes down more in between pulses in order to get the juice flowing and the blender to run more efficiently.
  4. Prepare the herbs by chopping them up coarsely and add them to the middle of a tomato blend cycle.
  5. Add salt to a tomato blend cycle.
  6. Dump all of the blended tomatoes into a big bowl and stir. Give it a taste test to see if you’ve added enough herbs and salt. *You can also add some garlic, but I like the taste of fresh garlic and I’m worried that over time the garlic might take on too powerful of a flavor. 
  7. Other optional ingredients: Onions, peppers, chives…be creative!
  8. Store in gallon size Ziploc freezer bags. I like to fill each bag about ¾ full. When pouring the tomato liquid into the bag, lay it down flat until the purée comes right up to the locking mechanism. This is the best way to get rid of all air bubbles. Find a flat place in your freezer to store it until it freezes in a nice shape. Try to avoid plopping the bag on top of wire racks. If you do, the bag will be more likely to stick in weird places and leak or tear when you retrieve it.
  9. Label the bags with the date you made it and the herbs you added if desired. IMG_3515
  10. To thaw, place in a warm sink bath, then add to whatever you are making!

Notes: As you are preparing your purée, think about what you’ll be using it for. I like to use mine primarily in chili, as pizza sauce, or as spaghetti sauce, so I like it to have a nice Italian flavor. You might also want to store it in some smaller pint or quart size Ziplock bags if you plan on making smaller recipes. I find that one large gallon size Ziploc bag is perfect for one pot of chili, so that’s how I like to store it.