Sow, cook, eat – July

Turn your tomatoes into smooth, velvety Italian passata using these top tips from Paolo Arrigo of Franchi Seeds

The Italian for tomatoes is pomodori, literally translated as ‘golden apples’. Italian tomatoes are considered to be some of the best in the world, especially plum varieties, which are used for making passata because of their thin skin, few seeds and meatiness.
Passata is not liquidised tomatoes, nor passed through a mouli – both give you a cloudy, bitty and unpleasant passata instead of being smooth, red and velvety.

The traditional way is to dip the tomatoes in boiling water, removing the skins and then passing the passata through a sieve, which can be time consuming.

Alternatively, there are some passata machines on the market. I would recommend the Rigmonti one we’ve supplied here for 20 years. It’s great value and it will process about 50kg of tomatoes per hour. Simply fix it to a worktop using the large sucker, put the tomatoes in the hopper, turn the handle and the passata comes out one side, the dry skin and pips the other.

How to hermetically seal a jar

Fill your sterilized jars with the passata, a dash of olive oil and either a pinch of salt, rosemary, garlic or chilli to taste. Then ensure the lid is on screwed on tightly, place jars into a deep saucepan with water to just under their lids, place a tea towel in between, cover and bring to a rolling boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and then allow to cool before removing the jars from the water and storing in the larder or a cool dark airy place.

Buon Appetito!


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