Here’s our Girragirra tomato passata recipe, because Summer in Oz means tomatoes are go! It’s our low tech way of storing that sunshine in a bottle for those chilly Winter days ahead.
Girragirra Tomato Passata Recipe:
- Grow your own, they WILL be tastier than anything you can buy. If not, you can always help a farmer out by buying a box or two at your local Farmers’ market or better still, directly from the farm gate.
- Give your toms a wash in cold water. Even if they are spray free, nobody likes dirt in their sauce!
- If you have a mouli big enough to cope with your supply, get mouli – ing! That will remove both skin and seeds as well as nicely squishing your toms ready to bottle. This year we had oodles of tomatoes, a very small mouli and no time to spare. So we got creative and dug out the old meat mincer.
- No mouli? You need to skin your toms before squishing. Cut a tiny cross at the base of each tom with a sharp knife or blade. This will help you peel them post blanching. You don’t want a deep cut or you’ll end up with water logged toms and a watery passata. Pop the toms into a big pan of boiling water for about 30 seconds – just long enough to loosen the skins, whip them out and plonk them straight into iced cold water. The skins should slip off easily. If not, leave the next batch on the boil a little longer.
- Squish the toms and you have passata – fresh tomato sauce! Use any method to do the squishing – blender, food processor, bomb old mincer, or just finely chop. Ideally, remove the seeds post squishing (this is why a mouli is ideal). You can push your passata through a sieve to do this or just go with a coarser flavoured, seed in passata as we did.
Of course you can use your passata fresh, however if you want to store it for any length of time, it will need to be bottled then preserved in some way.
Bottling your bounty:
- Sterilise your bottles / jars. We do this by popping clean jars into a cold oven and bringing the temp up to 180C
- Modern varieties of tomatoes are less acidic than the old varieties which means they may not be safe to preserve without adding an acid like lemon juice. To stay on the safe side, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per litre of tomatoes.
- Add your lemon juice and squished toms to your jars leaving a 1. 2 cm head space. Remember, heated liquids expand! Pop a leaf of basil in before you seal your jars or bottles if you like.
- Place your sealed jars into a pan large enough to allow you to completely cover them with cold water. Separate them with an old tea towel or cover each jar with an old sock (yep, that’s what we did). otherwise the jars will jiggle once the water gets boiling and may break which is REALLY annoying!
- Bring slowly to a gentle boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
- You’re done! Store your prize in a cool, dark possie in your pantry and enjoy that smug feeling that comes with squirreling away some of that Summer sunshine.