This year I vowed that I’d get away from buying canned things due to the BPA lining in cans. This includes canned tomatoes and tomato paste.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is “an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate.”1 It is an estrogen-mimicker, and has been known to affect the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children, as well as increase cardiovascular disease.
According to a follow-up analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), patients with the highest levels of BPA in their urine carried a 33% increased risk of coronary heart disease.2
Perhaps the scariest thing to me, is that BPA can be passed from mothers to their unborn children. There have not been enough studies to know the long-term effects of BPA on developing fetuses, but as it affects the brain in adults, I can’t imagine that it would leave fetuses unharmed.
Anyway, this summer, we were blessed with a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, and for months, I haven’t worried about my tomato supply. But this week, when the night started turning chilly and I found myself reaching for a sweater during the day, I realized I hadn’t prepared for the upcoming winter months at all!
I could hear Joel Salatin’s voice in my head saying, “Woe to the family with an empty larder.” And I realized I need to get my tomato paste on!
I also need to learn to can, so I can can tomatoes, but one thing at a time for now. I DO need to learn to can rather fast though if I want to have any tomatoes for the winter. I think the thing I’m most afraid of is jars breaking, but I’m really not sure how likely this is.
Anyway, making your own tomato paste is so easy that you might just cry when you learn how easy it is. Just kidding. But it is literally almost no work at all.
- Take around 5 lbs of tomatoes (I used maybe 8. I can’t remember exactly.) and blend them into a puree using a Vitamix or other food processor. OPTIONAL: Blend in 1-2 red peppers and 8 garlic cloves as well.
- Put the puree into a pot and boil for 3 minutes.
- Using a strainer and cloth of some sort, strain into a bowl or pot
- Refrigerate for at least 12 hours
- After 12 hours, take the paste out of the fridge and spread into a baking dish.
- Allow it to come to room temperature.
- When it is room temperature, put it in the oven at 200˚F for 20 minutes.
- Spoon into clean glass jars, being careful to eliminate air pockets.
- Top with 1/4 inch of olive oil, screw on lids, and store in the fridge indefinitely. Well, not indefinitely, but it should keep long enough for you to use it!
- Be sure to add more olive oil to the top each time you use it. It helps prevent molding and keeps it longer. I suppose you could can this, too, in hot water baths and by adding lemon juice instead of olive oil, but I’m not there yet. :)