November 16, 2017
Most Indian curries cannot do without tomatoes in them. Puree them for a thicker gravy or chop them up finely for a chunky consistency, tomatoes are to our gravies what cheese is to an Italian pizza. But come Winter, there is often a surge in tomato prices. Moreover, what you have available in the markets may not be as juicy and bright as the ones you bought earlier in the year. Does that mean you have to wait till summers to get the bright red colour and natural tang back in your curries? Maybe not. Puree and store the tomatoes with these pro tips. You can thank us later.The idea behind preparing purees is to collect the season’s best tomatoes and store them. Pureed tomatoes have a longer shelf life and can be stored in your refrigerator without adding any chemical or preservatives to it. So basically, instead of compromising on the taste or purchasing expensive tomatoes, you save them in another form and for a longer period.
How you can make the perfect tomato puree:
Tomato puree is easy and quick to prepare; all you need to do is to take about one kilogram of tomatoes, wash them thoroughly and dice them. Now put them is a container filled with water; you can choose to prepare the puree in a pressure cooker too. Next, add one and a half teaspoon of salt and sugar each and bring them to boil and then let them cook on low flame for about 2-3 minutes. You will see the tomatoes become mushy. Let them cool down and then take the mushy, pulpy liquid through a sieve to get a fine consistency. Don’t let the chunkier parts go to waste. Grind them and add to the rest. You puree is ready to use.
How to store tomato puree ?
It is all about storing the puree properly and it can stay for about 2 months or so, depending on the amount of usage. All you need to do is to put the puree in an air-tight container. You can also put it in ice trays and freeze them. Use the cubes every time you need to rustle up a gravy. If you are storing the puree in liquid form, then make sure to use a dry spoon every time to scoop out the required amount. Only take out the exact amount of puree you need every time, as taking out all of it and letting it soften will only spoil it or reduce the shelf life if the entire batch.
Things to remember
If you freezing the puree: Never store the tomato puree in glass containers as the food freezes, it tends to expand and put pressure on the container, resulting in breakage. Store it in plastic containers instead.
Whenever you want to use the puree, do not put it directly in the food while cooking. Wait for it to become softer. Preferably, you should take it out from the freezer and store it in the refrigerator a day before using it.
You can also skip adding salt and sugar in the puree.While preparing the puree, do not leave the pressure cooker or the container exposed to heat for a longer period as it may leave the tomatoes tasting bitter.
Use ripe tomatoes as they have lots of pulp and will end up giving a nice bright red colour to the puree.So, whip up this tomato puree and make the best of curries this season without letting your budget go for a toss.