Tomato puree is the postcard Summer sends to Winter. When it’s drizzling out and the day is draped in a monochrome veil, tomato puree brings a balance back to life.

This is also the perfect recipe for your ugliest, squishiest tomatoes. Wash them well and add them to the slow cooker and walk away for a day.

Makes: three quart bags
Time: 3 Lb = 6 to 8 hours 5+ Lb = 8 + hours on high in a crockpot (depending on how caramelized you want your tomatoes)

3 Lb to 5 LB tomatoes, whole and washed
2 TBSP (or more) garlic, whole and unpeeled
2 tsp salt
tsp pepper
Sprig of basil (Optional)

3 tsp = 1 TBSP
2 TBSP = 1 ounce
1 cup = 8 oz
1 cup = 1/2 pint
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 cups – 1 gallon


The technique to Purées & Coulis

What to do
Put tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper into a crockpot, let sit on high for up to 10 hours.
Turn off crockpot and remove lid, let tomatoes cool to the touch.
Blend and then strain using the coulis method.


Because you are straining the solids, go ahead and leave the stems on.
Be sure to remove all leaf matter before cooking the tomatoes.
Smaller freezer bags are better.
Get a sheet pan and place the bags flat on the sheet pan and then set them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, you’ll have slim, flat bags– which are much easier to store.

Fresh, heirloom tomatoes are both sweet and high in acid. Caramelized onions and oil will balance out he flavor in pasta sauces and soups. In extreme cases, a tiny pinch of baking soda will diffuse the acid dramatically.

The longer the tomatoes stew, the more unctuous they will become and they’ll lose their acerbic notes.

Pair with a bright pinot noir or Cabernet Franc. Add a sprinkle of cocoa powder to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon.