Posts Tagged ‘Roma tomatoes’

We don’t have a lot of surplus vegetables in the garden.

Our aim is to grow a small quantity of a large variety of produce – sufficient for our daily consumption – rather than large quantities of just a few.  As a result we’re unlikely to have a glut of cucumbers, but we’re usually able to put three or four different veg on the table each night for dinner.

Having said that, we’ve had enough to do some small scale preserving, and it’s been very rewarding!

We harvested about six kilos of roma tomatoes in total – after cooking and eating, there was enough left over for a  small batch of passata and a bottle of roasted tomato ketchup

Capsicums have been a poor performer in our garden – we’ve only had a few little green ones that never turned red, but the Japanese eggplants have been fantastic!  I turned a kilo of our homegrown crop into three and a half jars of eggplant pickle

Finally, I was keen to try Pam the Jam’s piccalilli following the recipe here.  Most people make preserves when they have garden surplus, but I  did the reverse – I came across the recipe first and then went hunting in the garden to see what I could find.  In the end, I was able to cobble together a kilo of crisp vegetables, including a couple of straggly beets, some Lebanese cucumbers, celery, green tomatoes, an assortment of multi-coloured carrots and the aforementioned green capsicums…

The piccalilli (top photo) was very easy to make and is currently maturing in the pantry.  Great stuff!


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Over the past year, our passata recipe has evolved considerably.  We still make the roasted tomato version, but Pete now combines that with a fresh passata that he makes by simply blanching, processing and draining Roma tomatoes.  The end result of this new method is a bright red, thick puree which is both sweet and clean tasting.

1. Start with good quality Roma tomatoes – the ones we bought from Jimmy at the markets were thick fleshed, and quite dry inside.

2. Cut these in half and squeeze the excess juice and seeds out as best you can.  The liquid inside the tomatoes is often slightly sour – removing and discarding it now leaves just the sweet pulp in the finished sauce.

3. Blanch the tomatoes briefly in boiling water – the aim is simply to heat them up and soften them so they’ll pass through the food mill.  You don’t want to actually cook them too much.  Drain well.

4. Pass the cooled tomatoes through a food mill or tomato juicer.  We put the extruded pulp back through a couple more times to extract every last bit of flavour from it – usually the final pass produces a thick paste which enriches the sauce.

5. Pour boiling water through a clean cloth, then use it to line a colander over a large bowl.  Pour the passata into the cloth and allow it to drain until thick.  Whatever you do, don’t throw out the juice that collects in the bowl below!  That’s delicious, pure tomato water – more on that in a future post.

Once your passata has drained thoroughly, it can be frozen in small containers for future use.  We mix ours with roasted tomato passata, to create a tomato concentrate which we find ideal for pastas and pizzas.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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