I have just made my first batch of passata for the summer with my surplus tomato crop. I am certainly not an expert in this area but every year I adjust my technique slightly and learn little tricks along the way.
Traditionally Roma tomatoes would be used but I always grow a mixture of varieties and put them all in together. This can be a messy job and I find it easier to set up a little temporary kitchen in our shed using a heavy duty gas cooker for the boiling. I also find it easier to manage in smaller batches, about 10kg of tomatoes at one time. This will depend on your equipment, space available and time.
This has been loosely adapted from a recipe by Rob Pirina that was published in the Advertiser on 16th March, 2011.
You will need the following:
Tomatoes – the amount depends on how much you wish to make. 1kg will make approximately one 650ml bottle.
Clean, sterilised bottles with clean lids.
A tomato extraction machine, available from large food stores and wholesalers. (I have a “Master” Tomato Press which I bought from Gaganis Bros in
about $50.00) Adelaide
A few big pots and bowls
Wash tomatoes and then cut them into halves or quarters depending on the size. Put the cut tomatoes into boiling water for around 3 minutes. This helps to sanitise them and also makes it easier for them to pass through the machine. Strain tomatoes and discard water.
Pass the tomatoes through the extraction machine to separate the seeds and skin. I pass the seeds and skin through the machine a second time, this results in a thicker sauce.
Put a basil leaf in each bottle. You could substitute the basil for a garlic clove or a chilli. Fill each bottle with a funnel leaving a 3 or 4 finger gap from the top. If you are using beer bottles you will need a beer bottle sealing machine. It is fortunate we have an extensive selection of home brew supplies!
Fill a very large pot/drum with clean water. Wrap each bottle in a clean towel/tea towel and lay them in the pot.* Once all the bottles are laying in the pot bring the water to boil and boil for 30-40 minutes. Turn flame off and leave for 48 hours. This allows the sauce to cook and pasteurise. Remove bottles carefully and use the sauce on practically anything.