Spice up your life with a tasty homemade tomato paste of your choice – A unique blend that is rare to pick on store-shelves! In this guide, I will show you how to prepare tomato paste at home.
Remarkable and delicious! That is the taste of the thick, rich-red and flavoured paste that delights our sense of taste. It is no other than the Tomato paste. Probably, you may be in the habit of licking tomato paste eagerly from its container or can before its remaining contents ends up in the cooking pot. Shy less, because you are not the only one.
Tomato pastes are widely used in Nigeria because it brings life, thickness, and creativeness away from the traditional African taste for local meals. It is popularly the first option in preparing stews, sauce, Jollof rice etc.
Steps to prepare tomato paste
Tomato pastes are easy to get by simply picking one from the shelf of the grocery store on purchase. Yes, there are lots of options you could choose from; name it Derica, Gino, Vitali, Ric-Giko, Heinz, and so forth. However, don’t you think is about time you make your ‘personalised’ taste that is different from the ones you customarily buy from the store?
After all, a little manipulation, your touch of creativeness and adventure in taste-dynamics are extensions of spicing up your life. Therefore, never hesitate to see the various ways you can add extra-uniqueness to your homemade tomato paste.
Let’s see few general methods of preparing tomato paste and options in flavour that can add richness to its taste.
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How to Prepare Tomato Paste Step 1: select your tomatoes
To prepare tomato paste that have a good taste requires that you are choosy in selecting a better quality of tomatoes. In making the right choice, you must consider the variety of kinds available in local market near you.
Nevertheless, seasons can influence your choice of pick. A better choice for your tasty paste would be the kind that is usually referred to as ‘Derica’ at local markets in Abuja FCT. They are usually a lot tastier, bigger, fleshly, strong, with fewer blemishes and less water too. Their characteristic makes them ideal for preparing tomato paste.
What you need to have in place
- 10 to 15 healthy full balls of ‘Derica’ tomatoes (quantity is optional)
- A large pot
- A large spoon
- Sanitized jars or containers for storage
- Adequate amount of your preferred choice of seasoning/flavouring (red hot pepper, paprika, cayenne, curry, parsley, green pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, onions, bouillon cubes, sugar, salt, etc.)
- Stove or cooker (optional, depending on method you choose to dehydrate)
- Oven (optional, depending on the method you choose to dehydrate)
- Baking Tray with rims (if using an oven)
- Aluminium foil (if using an oven)
- 2 tablespoons of Vegetable oil without flavour (If using an oven)
- Kitchen knife
- 2 Bowls (for prepared spices, blends and so forth)
- Ice block (for method 2 of preparing tomatoes)
- Mixing spoon
- Refrigerator (optional, if not required for immediate use)
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How to Prepare Tomato Paste Step 2: Prepare your tomatoes
There are a variety of ways to prepare tomato paste, but only two methods would be highlighted.
- Wash tomatoes clean to remove dirt clinging on the surface. You could use cold to moderate or room temperature in order to sustain its freshness. Cut out blemishes while washing.
- Focus on cleaning the inside with fresh and clean water. Cut the tomatoes into halves to be able to rinse out the seeds and blemishes that may still be present inside.
- Remove seeds to help you give the tomatoes a good blend, look and homogenised texture. It wouldn’t be cool to see particles and seed residues in your prepared paste. In removing the seed, you would be removing the juicy pulp – the part of tomato which holds the water content. If you still wish to retain the juicy pulp, you need to prepare your mind to wait longer hours for tomatoes to dehydrate its water contents.
- Boil water in a pot
- Only wash the outer body of tomatoes thoroughly to ensure no dirt is sticking as in Method 1.
- Put the washed tomatoes in a pot of boiling water. Do not leave each ball of tomato in the hot water for more than a minute.
- Gently place tomatoes in a bowl of ice to remove the skin. Removing the skin gives it a smooth blend and makes it less of a chewy paste.
- Cut tomatoes into halves to squeeze out the seed and water
- Drain the tomatoes
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How to Prepare Tomato Paste Step 3: Prepare your seasoning and flavours
This is the exciting part of the project. You can personalise your paste by adding the flavours or seasonings you desire most to give an undertone taste.
From your cooking experience, you would not lack varieties to choose from. Suggested seasonings have been listed above under the section: What you need to have in place. Having at least one to three kinds of seasoning is moderate enough to keep the flavour or seasoning enjoyable and distinct.
If you are using wet seasoning i.e. having water contents, then you would have to wash, chop and add along with tomatoes for blending. Onions flavour, though wet, can be added just few seconds before taking off from fire completely to retain its distinct flavour.
If are using dry seasoning, then you could blend it dry thoroughly without a trace of its seed where the case applies. You are not required to add dry seasonings along with tomatoes for blending neither at the start of cooking tomatoes to dehydrate water; otherwise, you may lose its distinctive taste.
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How to Prepare Tomato Paste Step 4: Blend tomatoes
- Chop tomatoes into large chunks to fit into your food processor or grinder.
- Add your already chopped and wet seasonings such as red hot pepper along with tomatoes for grinding.
- Blend tomatoes and wet seasonings together. Ensure that your blend is homogenised.
Step 4: Dehydrate your blend
Two methods for dehydrating your blended mixture are highlighted below:
Technique 1: Boil the blend mixture
- Pour the blended mixture to a large pot.
- Place the pot in a lighted stove or cooker.
- Initially boil the blend at raised fire level to dehydrate water. This would take about an hour depending on the level of heat applied.
- Check each time to ensure that it doesn’t get burnt.
- Reduce the level of heat applied gradually as the water content becomes less and the blend thickens to a paste
- Add your dry seasoning or onion flavour few seconds or a minute before taking off the fire completely.
Technique 2: Bake the blended mixture
- Briefly cook tomatoes together with its wet seasoning on fire to dehydrate some water.
- Stir dry seasoning with blended tomatoes shortly after taking off fire.
- Prepare your baking sheet (Aluminium foil) by cutting a large square sheet to cover your baking tray entirely up to its rims.
- Evenly overlay your baking sheet with one to two tablespoon of vegetable oil without flavour.
- Carefully pour out partially dehydrated blend into the baking sheet while ensuring that it is levelled.
- Bake blend for about 2 to 3 hours depending on the level of heat applied.
- You will need to reduce heat gradually as the water dries out and it thickens.
- Take out your baked mixture after ensuring that it becomes a thick consistent paste. Notice the colour deepens to rick dark red.
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We are done on how to prepare tomato paste. Your tomato paste is now ready for use or storage. If you intend to store it, ensure to do so in a refrigerator while using clean and sanitized containers to prevent contamination or growth of microorganisms. Top it with a little vegetable oil and sea salt.
You have a wide option of using your tomato paste. As you grow in your experience of making homemade tomato paste, so likewise in your cooking skills of making unique tasteful blends that are rare to pick from a store- shelf. Enjoy your cooking adventure!Click here to see the latest Jobs opportunities in Nigeria.
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