Homemade Tomato Paste

I am very tired; we did not stop all weekend.

It’s a sad thing when you have to come to work to get some rest.

We got two bushels of roma tomatoes from the CSA this week, then picked up five dozen ears of sweet corn and half a peck of peaches from the farmer’s market.  We froze about half of the corn and canned the other half; the peaches are still sitting on the counter.  The bulk of the weekend was spent on the tomatoes – all 106 pounds of them.

Yes, 106 pounds.

We now have 62 pints of tomato sauce, 21 pints of barbecue sauce and 20 half-pints of sweet corn in the basement (along with pickles, chicken stock, beef stock, peach salsa, lard, tallow and green beans).  Either tonight or tomorrow night, I’m going to add peach butter to that – however much 1/2 peck will make.

I’d have more tomato sauce, but I decided to turn some of it into tomato paste – which really couldn’t be easier to do, even if it is a little time-consuming.  You just bake it.

Yup, that’s all.  Of course, it made it a little easier that I already had five gallons of tomato sauce sitting on my stove, but if you don’t mind cooking down about 10 pounds of tomatoes – preferably roma or paste tomatoes – and running them through a food mill, you will have approximately the right amount of sauce for this recipe.  If you want to take the really easy route, 7 cans of commercial tomato sauce should do it.

If you’re wondering why I went to the trouble of making my own tomato paste instead of just buying it…well, I have a couple of reasons (beyond the fact I’m something of a nutjob).   First, it tastes far superior to anything you can buy at a grocery store.  Second, I know exactly what’s in it.  But mostly, I can control the portions.

So many recipes just call for a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, and the smallest can you can buy is 6 ounces.  Yes, I know you can get it in squeeze tubes now, but I’ve only ever found that once, at a store that is a gajillion miles from our house.   After I made each of the three batches of paste over the weekend, I portioned it into ice trays, froze it, then popped the cubes into a ziplock freezer bag.  Each cube is about 1 ounce, or 2 tablespoons, perfect for just about any recipe calling for a small amount of tomato paste.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Homemade Tomato Paste
Homemade Tomato Paste
Homemade Tomato Paste

[i]Makes about 2 cups[/i]
  • 12 cups tomato puree
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven 300 F.
  2. Spread 2 tablespoons olive oil on three rimmed baking sheets. Pour 4 cups of tomato puree into each pan.
  3. Bake, using a spatula to turn the puree over on itself occasionally, until most of the water evaporates and the surface darkens, about 3 hours. Combine the tomato paste onto one baking sheet; reduce heat to 200 F and cook until thick and brick colored, about 20 minutes.
  4. Cool and divide into two ice trays; freeze. Store in the freezer in a zip lock plastic bag.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 105 calories, 7.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 344.8mg sodium, 187.2mg potassium, 9.9g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 0g sugar, 1.5g protein


10 thoughts on “Homemade Tomato Paste”

  1. You are SO COOL! I always freeze my leftover tomato paste in ice trays too. In fact, I popped a few out of the freezer when I made your sweet and sour meatloaf last weekend! 🙂 And for the record, I live in a somewhat urban setting and I’ve NEVER seen tomato paste in a tube.

  2. I love the ice cube tray method of freezing. I use it with tomato sauce, paste and pesto to name a few. Living in the 4th largest city in the country has very little going for it except that I can get tomato paste in a tube at my grocery store.

  3. I never knew how tomato paste was made so this was fun to do. It did take a bit of work to get it out of the ice cube trays – we had to cut down the sides. I’d be curious if Teflon trays would be easier. It is so yummy too!

  4. Thanks – we live in Mexico in the winter and tomato paste is not available commercially where we live – this is great!

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