Friday, February 3, 2012

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

Holy Moly! It's not hard to make homemade tomato paste, but it is definitely time consuming!
You see, Grau wants to make homemade spaghetti sauce, from scratch. Which means SCRATCH. After all, he started making his own mozzarella and he's branching out into other cheeses....why not go all out Italian?

Nope. There's not a lick of Italian in either of us. So just chalk this up to one of the top 10 crazy things we've decided to do. I mean, really. I think it ranks right up there with....okay, so maybe there's nothing higher than deciding to make tomato paste from scratch.

We found a recipe online at Pick Your Own and we kinda just went with it. Grau and I decided to check out a local produce store we've never been to and were totally amazed at their prices. We bought 6 lbs of roma tomatoes, some potatoes, peppers, garlic, limes, lemons and some other stuff I can't remember, and it came to $14!! I was pleasantly surprised. We went back the next day to purchase more stuff and ended up spending $50. Ouch. But, all good deals and on things we needed anyway. That's a win in my book. Okay, so maybe the two bottles of wine weren't actually necessity. But it made making the tomato paste more fun!

I had no idea that tomato paste would take as long as it did. It wasn't particularly difficult. Just time consuming.

Peeling a total of 10 pounds of Roma tomatoes chalks right up there with things I probably won't do again in the future. Blanch then cold shock three tomatoes at a time. I tried doing more, but by the time I got to the 4th or 5th tomato the skins re-adhered. Not fun. Then the cutting in half and seeding them came in:
At this point, you mash them up and start to cook them. Except I didn't have a blender, or food processor or 'chopper' of any sort. I tried a hand mixer- trust me. Do NOT try a hand mixer on peeled tomatoes. (You don't want to know.)
Tomatoes being cooked with 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp non-iodized salt and a garlic clove:
They've been cooking a while, if you can tell by the tomato-line about an inch above the goop.
Once you cook for about an hour, you remove the bay leaves and garlic and run it through a sieve. Except, I don't own one of those, either. So I made do with cheesecloth:
Once to this point, you put it back in the pot, sans the liquid, and cook some more. The idea is to get it almost completely dry and condensed.
Then, put into your sanitized jars and process in your hot water bath canner for 45 minutes.
And then you're done.
Of course, once the 45 minute processing time is done, you remove the jars to the counter and leave them for 12 hours. Then you can put them on your shelf until ready to use.

Did I tell you it was a long process? I started this at 9am this morning and am still in the 45 minute WBC stage. Mostly because I had other things going on which slowed me down. Overall, if I were to do this again? I think I would do TONS of it and get it over with. I'd rather not have to do this a couple times a year. Ewww. I'm too lazy for that.

But I bet our homemade spaghetti sauce will be fantastic!
Now I need more tomatoes.

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