Stefano's Tomato Purée

The fresh flavour of the Roma tomato can be enjoyed all year long with this easy recipe for tomato purée.


10 Roma or plum tomatoes
5 basil leaves


Cut an X, just into the skin, on the bottom of each tomato.

Plunge tomatoes in boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds to loosen the skin. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and so easy to handle. Peel skin off tomatoes with the tip of a small paring knife. If needed, plunge tomatoes back into boiling water if skin sticks for a few more seconds.

Cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Add to food processor and purée until smooth. Add fresh basil leaves. Use purée for sauces, stews and soups. Store in fridge for 2 days or freeze. For canning process, see below.

How Stefano Cans a Bushel of Tomatoes
If you want to can a big bushel of tomatoes like my family does every August when the tomatoes are in peak season, here’s how we do it. 1 big bushel of tomatoes will can about twelve 1-litre jars.

Tomato press, mason jars, lids, large pot, long wooden spoon, ladle, large funnel

1 big bushel ripe tomatoes (Roma, plum, San Marzano)
1 to 2 bunches fresh basil

Wash the tomatoes. Remove any black spots from tomatoes and cut in half.
Wash fresh basil and let dry on paper towel.
Wash the canning pot.
Wash and sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes and let them air dry on a clean towel.
Install the tomato press and place a bucket where the sauce will fall and another bucket where the seeds and skin will fall. Process the tomatoes.
Cook the tomatoes at high heat until they boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the amount of water in the tomatoes. Skim the acid foam regularly. While the sauce is boiling, place 12 jars (you need twelve jars for 1 bushel of tomatoes) in the oven for 20 minutes at 220 degrees F.
The sauce is ready to can when it becomes thick at the bottom of the pot. Keep the heat constant and consistent because very hot sauce must be canned in very hot jars.
Remove 2 to 3 jars at a time from the oven so they are kept hot. Put 2 to 3 basil leaves in each jar and add enough hot sauce up to the first line of the collar of the jar. Wipe the edge of the collar dry with clean paper towel. Without tightening the lids, screw the lids on the jars. Place jars back in the box and cover with a blanket for 2 to 3 days, allowing them to cool slowly. Check that each jar is properly sealed and then screw tightly.

Yield: 10 tomatoes will make about 1 ¾ cups to 2 cups, depending on size and juiciness of tomatoes.