Tomato Conserva

By • August 30, 2012 10 Comments

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Author Notes: An oven-roasted, highly flavorful tomato concentrate, it trumps any store-bought tomato paste you've ever tasted. This is adapted from Molly Watson's blog The Dinner Files. She adapted her recipe from Paul Bertolli's book, Cooking by Hand. Marisa McClellan

Makes 1-2 pints

  • 10 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Chop tomatoes into quarters. Combine them in a large pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and bring to a simmer. Cook until they are soft and the peels begin to detach from the tomato flesh.
  2. Push warm tomatoes through a food mill, sieve or chinois, so that you separate the tomato pulp from the seeds and skins.
  3. Divide the tomato pulp between two large, rimmed baking sheets (I used two half sheet pans).
  4. Place baking sheets in the oven and bake at 350° F. Check tomatoes every half hour, stirring the paste and switching the position of the baking sheets so that they reduce evenly.
  5. Over time, the conserva will start to reduce to the point where it doesn’t fill the baking sheet any more. At this point, I combine the contents of the two pans into and continue to bake.
  6. When the conserva is shiny, brick-colored and has reduced by more than half, it is done. There shouldn’t be any remaining water or moisture separating from the paste at this point.
  7. Scrape finished conserva into clean half or quarter pint jars. Top with a layer of olive oil and place in either the refrigerator or the freezer. As long as you keep it well-covered with olive oil and ensure that you only use a very clean spoon to remove it from the jar, it will keep in the fridge for a month or so. Frozen, it will keep for up to nine months.

More Great Recipes: Fruit|Condiments

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Comments (10) Questions (0)


about 1 year ago Miles

What's the best way to use the conserve? And, if you freeze it - better to defrost in refrigerator? Thanks!


over 1 year ago ori

Tried it today and it came out amazing!
Too bad it cannot be stored for longer periods i would have made much more


almost 3 years ago AmandaO

I made this tonight. I used the larger disk on my Rosle food mill (0.3 cm). It excluded the skins nicely, but much of the seeds passed through. The conserva tastes great; I don't think the seeds in the end product lent too much bitterness. Next time I might try the 0.1 cm disk, though.
Out of 10 pounds of tomatoes (mixed romas, plums, and grapes from my garden), I ended up with 1.75 pints. It took about 3.5 hours to cook down.
I added the salt with the olive oil in the first step.


almost 3 years ago lindycindy

I noticed you used aluminum pans to reduce the tomatoes. Did you have any problems with the acid in the tomatoes interacting with the metal?


almost 3 years ago Chef Lynchini

Can this be "canned" in jars using the hot water boil method ?


almost 2 years ago Kelly Kindle Cheney

No. Olive oil products are not safe to can. I pressure can my tomato paste.


almost 3 years ago vivbest

Is there something that you would recommend to do with the seeds and skins? I hate to waste food!


almost 3 years ago Hibatt

Compost them. They will grow great plants next season ;)


almost 3 years ago AmandaO

Out of 10 pounds of tomatoes, I ended up with less than a cup of skins/seeds after it goes through the mill. I think you'd have more waste if you cored and sliced them!


almost 2 years ago Kelly Kindle Cheney

I dried my skins in a dehydrator and then ground them in a food processor. Added to soups and sauces to thicken and add a robust tomato flavor.