PASSATA DI POMODORO
There is nothing that makes me feel more in contact with nature then making passata.
Maybe it is because of the earthy smell of the tomatoes or maybe it is because at the end of the summer I am filled with the colours and the heat and I feel like celebrating all this life. Maybe it is because I am putting away food for the cold winter, like in one of my favourite fables The Grasshopper and the Ants.
Most probably it is because the memory goes back to when my grandmother used to make it with my mother and my aunts and I feel I am in the room with them (while they are trying to push me away from the boiling pots…).
To add experience to the experience, last spring, with the help of Köbi the farmer, I built a tomato house in my garden and grew my own tomato plants. I wanted to be as proud of my tomatoes as my grandfather was. And I am.
When I arrived in Switzerland and came to live on the farm I immediately thought to grow tomatoes. It is not as easy as in Italy because of the temperature and because of the rain. That’s why here in Switzerland they are typically grown alongside the perimeter of the houses, protected from the rain by the beatiful and immense swiss roofs.
The first two years I was growing them in pots but last year they got ill and I lost them. This year I am very happy with the result as I am still picking…
Making passata is not a big load of work if compared with the joy of taking it out of the pantry in the winter days or with the gratification of giving it as a present.
You need tomatoes, jars, new lids, a big pot, a food mill, a cloth. The best tomatoes are the San Marzano type, they are oblong and they have a lot of flesh. The ideal time is between July and end of September. If you have a garden you can plant them when the temperature doesn’t go below 10°C anymore. I suggest smaller jars (125ml) so that once it is open you don’t to have to throw any away when you don’t use it all.
- 2,5 kg Tomatoes San Marzano type / Eiertomate
- Depending on the tomatoes you can obtain more or less 1,5l of passata.
- Wash the jars in the dishwasher. Use new lids every time.
- Wash the tomatoes.
- Cut them in quarters and take off white part, stem area and seeds.
- Cut them in pieces.
- Put them in a pot.
- Put the pot on medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes until tomatoes are soft. Stir often.
- Use Food mill to get the juice out of the tomatoes and separate the peel. When you think you have taken all the juice out, you haven’t! There is more, as much as you continue passing. Scrape underneath the plate with holes of your food mill every once in a while. What you will end up having is just peel so thin that feels like paper.
- If the passata is too liquid and you like it thicker, put it back in the pot and let it boil until it’s more dense (at least 15 minutes).
- Pour into your jars (leaving 2cm from the top) with the help of a funnel and close them.
- Put jars in a big pot and fill up with water (the water at least one finger above the jars). Let the water boil for 30 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let everything seat until room temperature.
- After few hours or the next day you can check the lid. Press on center of cooled lid. If jar is sealed, the lid will not flex up or down. If it is not sealed, consume your passata in a few days.
- Store sealed jars in pantry for up to 1 year.
- You can use a cloth to put in the water between the jars, sometimes the jars break because they move inside the pot.