Tomato Paste

A wonderful item to have in the cupboard to jazz up soups, stews and tomato sauces.


  • 32 cups (8000 ml) chopped tomatoes, about 16 lb (7.5 kg), 48 medium-large
  • 1 -1/2 cups (375 ml) red pepper, chopped, about 3 medium
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 1 clove garlic, optional
  • 13 1/2 tsp (66.5ml) Lemon Juice


  • Place 9 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.
  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.
  • In a large stainless steel saucepan combine tomatoes and pepper. Cook slowly 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Press mixture through a fine sieve or food mill.
  • Return mixture to saucepan; add bay leaves, salt and garlic, if using. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick enough to mound on a spoon, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove.
  • Add 1 1/2 tsp (7.4ml) of lemon juice to each jar prior to filling.
  • Ladle paste into a hot jar to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more paste. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining paste.
  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 45 minutes.*
  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.