Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tomato Paste

50 Large Plum Tomatoes, Cored
1 ½ Cups Chopped Seeded Red Bell Peppers
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Salt
1 Clove Garlic
Lemon Juice

Wash and sort tomatoes, removing any bruised or discolored product.  Quarter 6 tomatoes to measure about 2 cups. Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a potato masher, crush tomatoes to release juices. While maintaining a boil and stirring to prevent burning, quarter additional tomatoes, adding them to the saucepan as you work. Make sure the mixture continues to boil vigorously while you add, stir and crush the remaining tomatoes, When all tomatoes have been added, stir in red peppers and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are very soft, about 1 hour.
Working in batches, press mixture through a fine sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Discard skins and seeds.
Return mixture to a saucepan. Add bay leaves, salt and garlic, if using. Return to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick enough to mound on a spoon, adout 2 ½ hours. Discard bay leaves and garlic clove.
Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
Before filling each jar with tomato paste, add 1 ½ tsp lemon juice to the hot jar. Ladle hot paste into prepared jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot paste. Wipe rim, center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 45 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, t hen remove jars, cool and store.