Make the most out of ripe Roma tomatoes by preserving them in this simple passata. Simply delicious on its with pasta or used in your favourite recipe.
Our kitchen is always so busy this time of year! I can never resist buying a box of ripe Romas or a sack of sweet corn at the farmer’s market. We enjoy our Pickled Carrots with Garlic and Dill, along with local Frozen Corn all winter long.
Cream of the Crop
Once the unmistakable scent of Autumn is in the air, the giant crates of ripe red Romas begin to appear at markets everywhere. They are perfectly plump, oval and a beautiful crimson colour.
Their fresh herbal sweet scent is unmistakably one of my favourite smells in the whole word. It is so unlike any other scent you will ever smell. I find their presence very difficult to dismiss and every year the same thing happens…
I buy an entire box! Then I lug it home and when I’m dragging it out of the trunk I think the same thing every year; What the heck was I thinking?
My First Passata
They say you never forget your first time. Those first two days of Passata making were interesting. I didn’t know what I was doing and honestly, I was just winging it.
I thought the best way to begin was to peel the tomatoes. Peeling tomatoes takes hours of plunging them in and out of boiling hot water. It’s messy and really not much fun.
I learned the hard way that all you really need to do is de-seed and dice the tomatoes. Like this:
How to De-Seed a Roma Tomato
There’s a trick I learned in Thailand. Yes, Thailand! Place the tomato upside down on a board. Begin by using a sharp knife to make a shallow cut from the bottom point to the base.
Be careful not to cut all the way through. Repeat the cuts 4 or 5 times and pry the slices away from the centre filled with seeds. You should have a strangely looking flower-like tomato.
Finish by cutting every slice off at the base. Discard the core of seeds and dice up the larger slices.
Preparing the Passata Sauce
Place all of the diced tomatoes in a heavy bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven. You may need to split them up into two pots. Add two passes of olive oil, the sea salt, and lemon juice to to tomatoes (split the amount up if using two pots).
Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Let them lightly simmer for 6 hours or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
Allow the sauce to cool, then pass it through a food mill to remove the skins. Process immediately or the following day.
How to Can Roma Tomato Passata
If you’re in a pinch for time, this sauce freezes really well. Divide it into portion sizes that you would use in any recipe. I suggest containers that either hold 2 cups or 1 cup, the equivalent of an 8 oz can of tomato sauce.
However, if you prefer to hot water bath the Passata, begin the process by washing and inspecting the jars. Be sure there are no chips on the jar rims and that there’s no rust or dents on the lids.
Next, sterilize the jars by placing them upside down in a large cake pan, then add an inch or two of water. Place in a 250 F oven for ten minutes and keep warm until you are ready to fill them. Prepare the lids by placing lids and rings in a pot and cover with water. Heat them until they just begin to boil.
Before filling the jars, be sure everything is hot and sterilized. Bring the passata back up to a boil and boil a kettle full of water. Remove hot jars from oven two at a time and fill with Passata using funnel. If you have fresh basil, drop a leaf into the bottom of each jar before filling.
Quickly wipe rim of jar then cover with hot lid and screw on the sealing ring until it’s just tight, but not crazy tight. Arrange filled jars in the canning rack and repeat until all your jars are finished.
How to Hot Water Bath Passata Tomato Sauce
Lower the canning rack into the canner. Make sure there’s an inch of water above the jars. If the hot water canner is too full of boiling water, remove some. If the water level is too low, top it up from the kettle.
Process at a rolling boil for 10 minutes at sea level or 20 minutes at over 3000 ft altitude (see chart below). Add boiling water as needed to make sure the jars are covered.
Remove jars from the boiling water and let them sit undisturbed on counter overnight before moving. Check to make sure all the jars have sealed (the lids should be depressed in their centres). Refrigerate any jars that have not sealed.
If you make this Roma Tomato Passata please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.