Make Your Tomato Purée Raw To Let Ripe Flavors Shine

Tomato purée is an essential pantry item, and if you're making it at home, you may want to save yourself some effort by jarring it up raw as opposed to cooked. Tomato purée, which you will also see labeled, "tomato passata" by Italian brands, is a shortcut for making sauces, soups, and condiments because the fruits are already blended to the right texture and usually packaged with minimal add-ins. Tomatoes are very often the exception in the world of canned fruits and veg because packaged tomatoes can often be just as good as or better than fresh. However, there are some times when the more cooked flavor of most purée isn't going to cut it, and a sharper, brighter tomato taste is just what you want.

Thankfully, if you make your own tomato purée at home, you can have the best of both worlds. By using ripe, in-season tomatoes, you can get a robust, fully-flavored purée that still tastes like fresh tomatoes but is just as convenient to bust out as the jarred and canned stuff. Without preservatives, it won't last on the shelf, but it can be frozen for up to six months, so you can enjoy the summer flavor of juicy ripe tomatoes for months after they're picked. Instead of a savory sauce ready to be turned into marinara, your raw tomato purée will be tangy, light, and just a little sweet, perfect for spreading on toast or making into gazpacho.

Making raw tomato purée is quick and simple

If you want to make raw tomato purée, there are a few steps to take to ensure it retains the best flavor. Coring and seeding the tomatoes is essential, as the seeds can impart bitter flavors to the fresh sauce, and the pulp can make the finished purée watery. Peeling the tomatoes is optional, but for a smooth purée, it's a good idea. This is because even well-blended skins can alter the texture, as well as impart a bitter flavor that can detract from that delicious tomato flesh. To easily peel tomatoes, simply make a cut in the bottom and boil them for about a minute. The skins should slip off easily without losing much meat; then, all it takes is a whiz in a blender until the tomatoes form a smooth, uniform consistency.

Once you have your raw purée, the flavors of ripe tomatoes can find a welcome home in all kinds of dishes. It can be used to liven up Spanish rice, or as the base for homemade salsa. You can even make a no-cook tomato sauce for pasta with just some oil, salt, garlic, and herbs. Raw purée is every bit as versatile and useful as the more-common cooked variety, and will add a whole new category of meals you can make straight from storage.