Home make it

The science and practice of tomato sauce making

I am sure at some point we have all had a go at recreating our mamma’s or nonna’s tomato sauce recipes. some may have been lucky enough to have gotten close, but for most of us, try as we may, we’ll never be able to perfect the tomato sauce that we so fondly recall from our childhoods. There is a science to tomato sauce making; a tried-and-tested formula that took them years to master. Time well spent don’t you think?

Every great tomato sauce recipe story begins with the humble and perfectly ripened tomato, which is then pureed and transformed into passata. Traditionally, Italian families come together for their cherished annual passata making days and will make enough to see them throughout the year. It’s a family-fun day of cutting, squeezing, boiling and pulp extracting of hundreds of tomatoes followed by the bottling and preserving of the freshly made tomato puree. The busy day is usually finished off with the families sitting down to a nice big bowl of pasta with homemade sauce and a glass of vino or two!

It is this pre-prepared passata that is then used throughout the year as a base to creating the families’ favourite tomato sauce dishes. There really is no comparison in flavour and quality of dishes which comprise the homemade passata.

For those keen on learning the “science” of tomato sauce or passata making, Home Make It can help.

“The staff at Home Make It have been assisting families and teaching nonna’s secret tips of passata making for many years” says Adrienne, Home Make It’s BDM.

For the beginner passata maker, Adrienne recommends starting off with the Homemade Tomato sauce Kits. These come complete with all the equipment required as well as easy to follow step-by- step manual.


melbourne_tomato_sauce_makers copy



Roma tomatoes are the most common variety used for making tomato sauce. Other varieties can be used for making sauce, preferably small size and pulpy varieties, which will yield best results.

Inspect and wash the tomatoes and remove any blemished, bruised or soft parts on the tomatoes. If tomatoes are mouldy, discard those as well and remove any stems and green leaves if required.


Submerge the jars that you will be using in a pot of water and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes. Then remove them from the water using the jar lifter and place on clean surface or cloth. Lids can be quickly washed and dried and placed on clean tea towel.

passata_making_boiling_tomatoes copy



Place tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water, for just long enough to soften the skins. This should only a take a couple of minutes. Then safely scoop out tomatoes using a straining ladle and cut the tomatoes into halves.




Secure in place your manual press or automated tomato machine.

Place a bowl at both outlets of the machine; one to catch the seeds and skins and the other to catch the pulp. Then puree the tomatoes through the tomato machine. This will separate skins and seeds from the pulp.

Place a handful of tomatoes in the hopper of the tomato machine, we recommend to only 3-quarter fill the hopper. Whilst turning the handle of the manual tomato machine, you should see skins and seeds being discharged into one bowl and the other bowl filling with puree. If you find that the tomatoes in the hopper are not moving down and very little pulp is being extruded, you can use a plunger of some sort to push the tomatoes down to help process them. Continue this process and puree all your prepared tomatoes until finished.


Place the juice and pulp you have collected into an appropriate sized pot. Boil some of the water off and thicken the sauce, gently simmer the tomato puree until it reaches the consistency that you like for the sauce. The sauce should be like a thick, but runny cream sauce. You should not have pools of water visible on the surface of the sauce but it should not be as thick as a tomato paste.

Tip: If you wish, you can add some fresh washed basil, dry spices or some salt during this simmering process. Ensure to work out your ratio of spices to the amount of tomato sauce you are doing, as certain spices can be quite powerful and should be added in small amounts and adjust- ed to taste.



As the sauce is hot, take precautions not to burn yourself and use a ladle and funnel to fill the jars.

Tip: Ensure that the jars are warm before filling the hot tomato sauce into them to prevent any breaking.

Continue to fill the jars with the tomato sauce within 10-12mm from the top. Wipe down the thread of the jars to make sure that no sauce has been left on the thread, this will ensure that you get a good seal when preserving.

Now place the lid on the jar and make sure that it is secured hand tight onto the jar. Do not over tighten the lid, as this will cause the jar to over pressurise during the preserving process and sauce may pour out of the jar.


Simmer some water in an appropriate sized stock pot and then place the sealed jars using the provided jar lifter into the pot, making sure that they are immersed with at least 30mm of water to cover over the top of them. Now turn up the heat and bring water to the boil. Once the water has started boiling, keep the jars in the boiling water; for about 35-40 minutes for 500ml jars and for about 40-45 minutes for 1 litre jars. ensure to keep the water over the jars during this preserving process. Any jars that have opened up during this process should be discarded when cooled and safe to do so.

passata_homemade_equipment copy


Once the jars have been boiled for the appropriate time, turn off the heat. Once the heat has dissipated, remove jars with the jar lifter and set aside overnight to cool completely.

Once cooled, check the jars to make sure that they have sealed properly. Try pushing the centre of the lid down. If you hear a pop, then it has not sealed properly and it should be discarded for safety reasons. If no pop has been heard, the lid can then be labeled with the processing date and placed in a cupboard or stored in a cool spot until you are ready to use them. These should then be consumed within 6–12 months, depending on the quality of tomato sauce made and storage conditions.




And for those keen to or already processing large quantities of tomatoes and looking to produce an abundance of passata supply, enquire about Home Make It’s advanced large-scale and motorised tomato processing equipment online or instore.


Contact the Home Make It team for further information or assistance with this process and recipe.

Clayton Store: (03) 9574 8222Reservoir Store: (03) 9460 2777Email: info@homemakeit.com.au


go up