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5 from 1 vote

Easy 2-Ingredient No-Cook Cultured Tomato Paste and Juice

This fermented tomato paste literally cooks itself and also renders the best tomato juice you've ever tasted
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time7 d

Equipment

  • Food mill to remove tomato skins (see note)

Ingredients

  • cored tomatoes
  • salt ¼ teaspoon per pound of tomatoes or to taste
  • olive oil (optional) to store tomato paste

Instructions

  • Cut cored tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Place in a large clean glass jar. (If making a larger amount, use a large glass or ceramic bowl.)
  • Crush the tomatoes with a clean hand, stir in salt and cover the jar or bowl with a cloth. Secure the cloth with string or a rubber band to prevent debris or critters from landing in the tomatoes.
  • Stir the tomatoes several times daily. After they become bubbly, continue to ferment and stir for an additional 3 to 5 days. Taste daily. When they taste tangy and have become slightly effervescent, run them through a food mill to remove the skins. Set these skins aside to either kickstart another ferment or add flavor to another dish.
  • To strain the tomatoes, place a piece of cheesecloth or butter muslin over a jar. With your fist, push the fabric into the jar to create a suspended pouch that you will fill with the tomato pulp and juice. Secure the cloth to the jar with a rubber band or piece of string. Carefully pour in tomato pulp and juice only to the top of the jar opening. Allow the tomatoes to strain a bit before adding more. Place the lid on the jar and the jar on a plate to catch any drips that the cloth may release. Store on the counter or, if straining for more than a day, in the refrigerator. Strain the tomatoes until the paste reaches the desired consistency.
  • Transfer the tomato paste to a small clean jar and store in the refrigerator. If you won't use the tomato paste within a few days, pour a little olive oil over top to help keep air out of your ferment. Covered in olive oil, the tomato paste will keep for at least a month. Keep in mind however, that as the tomato paste continues to slowly ferment in the refrigerator, the flavor will become more sour.
  • Remove the fabric from the straining jar that now contains tomato juice, replace the lid or, if desired, bottle the juice. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

The ½ pound of Early Girl dry farmed tomatoes I prepped for this post rendered approximately cup of tomato paste and nearly 2 cups of juice.
If you don't have a food mill, you can push the tomatoes through a sieve to remove the skins. If you don't mind the skins, purée the fermented tomatoes in a blender before straining. Some flecks of skin will remain.
If desired, stir a small amount of maple syrup or honey to taste into the jar of strained tomato paste.