Tomato paste

Tomato paste

Tomato paste is a thick paste made from ripened tomatoes with skin and seeds removed. Originally it was an artisan product that is still made the traditional way in parts of Sicily and Southern Italy. The artisan product is made by spreading out a much reduced tomato sauce on wooden boards. The boards are set outdoors under the hot August sun to dry the paste until it is thick enough, when scraped up, to hold together in a richly coloured dark ball.

Today this artisan product is hard to find and most people use the industrial (much thinner) version. Depending on its manufacturing conditions, tomato paste can be the basis for making ketchup or reconstituted tomato juice. Its most common culinary usage is to enrich the flavour of sauces, particularly tomato sauce. It is most commonly available in tin cans and squeeze tubes.

  • Hot break: heated to about 100°C; pectin is preserved -> thicker -> ketchup.
  • Cold break: heated to about 66°C; colour and flavour is preserved -> juice

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