Monday, October 23, 2017

Fresh and Simple Tomato Puree and Stewed Tomatoes

The tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness. 
--Pablo Neruda, Ode to Tomatoes

Do you need stewed tomatoes or tomato puree for your dinner recipe? You can make either from scratch in under 30 minutes.

When we moved to Ecuador in 2013, I often could not find canned tomatoes. I adapted my recipes to use fresh tomatoes instead. Canned tomatoes are easier to find now but I prefer using fresh ingredients so I still make my own sauces.

My favorite chili recipe calls for cans of stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. I make it using only unstrained tomato puree. Thought I would share with you how I make it.

Simple steps to tomato puree or stewed tomatoes

Ingredients (multiply the tomatoes by the number of cups you desire, up to 12 cups)

3/4 pounds ripe tomatoes for each 1 cup of stewed tomatoes or tomato puree

(These photos are with 2 1/4 lbs of tomatoes.)

2 1/4 pounds of tomatoes to make 3 cups of puree


Rough chop clean, dry tomatoes and put in a pan. Bring the tomatoes to a boil while stirring frequently. If you want basil, oregano, or other seasoning in your tomatoes, add them now.

Chopped tomatoes ready to boil

Once there are small bubbles, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes. As the water releases, your cut tomatoes will become stewed tomatoes.

Tomatoes after 12 minutes simmering

Remove pan from heat and cool. If you want stewed tomatoes, you are finished and can use them now. If you want tomato puree, pour contents into a blender and use the puree setting.

Tomato puree

If you want to remove the seeds and skins for a smoother puree, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. The remaining liquid is the tomato puree and ready to be used in your favorite recipe. If it is too watery, return it to the pan and simmer to reduce and thicken the puree.

I use the puree without straining it for chili because my goal is to have a sauce similar to a combination of stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. I find the unstrained puree fits this requirement perfectly. I pour the fresh puree in my slow cooker with a bunch of other ingredients and 4 hours later, eat delicious chili.

Chili using homemade tomato puree

What is your favorite food using tomato puree or stewed tomatoes?

12 comments:

  1. Hi Emily - I love chili con carne - which gets made occasionally for parties here ... occasionally I have some for myself. Wonderful you're using fresh tomatoes ... always good - cheers Hilary

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    1. Yum! Chili con carne is delicious and fresh tomatoes add nice flavor. Thank you Hilary, for your kind visit and comment as always!

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  2. There has been ages since last time I bought canned tomatoes. I can't say I have a favourite dish with fresh tomatoes. Almost everything we cook include fresh tomatoes! Sometimes I think we live just on fresh tomatoes and onions!

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    1. Good for you, Eva, always using fresh tomatoes! I can now say the same but for many years, I opened a can instead of using a tomato.

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    1. I love this poem, too. Thanks so much for your comments :)

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  4. Even though it always made me smile when expats were scrambling for canned tomatoes when we have such a bounty of fresh I have to admit I did/do miss the easily grabbed can of diced tomatoes. Thanks for this!

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    1. I am hoping that more of us learn to use the fresh food surrounding us every day. Thanks so much for your comment!

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  5. Chili is one of our best home cooked meal here in Latin America.

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    1. Mine, too, Doug! Love the fresh beans, also.

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  6. This looks so good! I generally try to go for fresh food over canned food anyway - think it's healthier. Can't wait to try out these recipe - thanks for sharing!

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    1. Good for you, going for fresh over canned. Yes healthier for sure! Thanks for stopping by!

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