When there is a glut of juicy red tomatoes available at the end of summer, we make passata! Passata is a tomato puree that is bottled for storage in the pantry. Used as a base for pasta sauce recipes (like bolognaise), passata can also be used on pizza or in casseroles, stews, soup and other dishes too. Enjoy! 
Ingredients for  PASSATA

Yield: 4 cups
(1 Litre/Quart)
Yield: 18 cups
(4.5 Litres/9 Pints)
Yield: 28 cups
(7 Litres
/7 Quarts)
Tomatoes, Roma, Fresh or Thawed, Fully Ripe
2.25kg (5 pounds)
9.5kg (21 pounds)
(35 pounds)
Citric Acid*
1/2 teaspoon
2 1/4 teaspoons
3 1/2 teaspoons
Salt, Finely Ground (Optional)
1 teaspoon
4 1/2 teaspoons
7 teaspoons
*Citric acid can be replaced with bottled lemon juice: add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice per pint/500ml jar (2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice per quart/litre jar);
Citric acid is recommended if available.

1.  Wash tomatoes. Discard damaged, bruised or spoiling/spoilt tomatoes.  Slice tomatoes in half.
2.  Use a knife to remove tomato seeds and place tomato halves into a large pot. Repeat until the pot is full (or you have finished de-seeding all the tomatoes). Depending on your batch size, you may need several stock pots. Removing the seeds before heat is applied results in a naturally sweet tomato flavour – the seeds add bitterness to your passata if used.
3.  Simmer tomatoes gently (cover the tomato pot with a lid), stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have softened and broken down as much as possible. Do not add any water to the tomato pot – the heat should release the tomato juice and leave it to simmer/stew gently and separate the tomato flesh from the tomato skins using low, slow heat.
4.  Clean jars (or bottles) and equipment by washing in hot soapy water and rinsing well before use.
5.  Place jar lids into a bowl and cover lids with boiling water. Remove the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal.  
6.  Use a ladle to transfer tomatoes from the large stock pot to put them into a tomato strainer (or sieve) to remove tomato skins, any remaining tomato seeds, and to puree the tomatoes evenly. Strain passata through a fine mesh sieve if the passata is too thin (the sieve removes excess water), then pour the passata into a pot (or jug) ready for filling jars once it is the consistency you prefer.
7.  Remove jars from hot water and place onto a heatproof surface i.e. tea towel.
8.  Into each quart (or 1 litre) jar, add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice) and 1 teaspoon finely ground salt (if using).
Note: for 700ml passata bottles: add 1/3 teaspoon citric acid (or 1 1/2 tablespoons bottled  lemon juice) and 3/4 teaspoon on finely ground salt (if adding salt) per 700ml bottle/jar.
9.  Fill jars with passata, filling to 0.5cm (1/4 inch) from the rim of each jar.
TIP: use a ladle and funnel to fill jars.
10.  Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel to remove any food residue.
11.  Remove jar lids from hot water and seal jars i.e. twist to secure “fingertip tight”.
12.  Process jars in water bath or pressure canner as per steps (and processing charts) below:
13.  Return jars of passata into the pot of boiling water and boil for the processing time stated below. Start the timer once the water comes back to a full boil.
14.  Turn off the heat source once the time is up. Remove jars from hot water after 5 more minutes. Cool jars overnight on a heatproof surface i.e. wooden board or towel. Do not adjust lids during this time.
13.  Place sealed jars into the pressure canner and secure the pressure canner lid. Put onto heat and vent for 5 minutes (begin timing once the white steam is constant). Then add weights (or cover) and bring to the required pressure level for your altitude (see charts below). Once the pressure is reached, process for the time stated in the charts below for your altitude. Reduce/increase the heat source to keep the pressure at the constant level.
14.  Turn off the heat source once the time is up. Allow the pressure canner to return to zero and then remove the lid (be careful, lid and canner will be very hot). After 5 more minutes, remove jars from the pressure canner and place them onto a heatproof surface (i.e. wood board or a towel). Do not adjust lids during this time.
15.  After 12-24 hours: check jars have sealed before labelling and dating clearly.
16.  Store jars of passata in a cool, dark and dry place (i.e. pantry) for up to 12 months. Jar lids should remain tightly sealed during storage, and not flex up or down when pressed (which indicates jar seal failure, do not consume).
17.  Refrigerate jars upon opening and consume contents within 3-5 days (or freeze in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months).      
Processing Time for   Passata   in a Boiling Water Canner

Altitude Processing Times
Packing Style
Jar Size
Hot Pack
< Pints (500ml)
35 minutes
40 minutes
45 minutes
50 minutes
< Quarts (1L)
40 minutes
45 minutes
50 minutes
55 minutes
Processing Time for   Passata   in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner

Altitude Pressure Levels
Packing Style
Jar Size
Processing Time
< Quarts (1L)
20 minutes
15 minutes
10 minutes
Not Recommended
Processing Time for    Passata    in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner

Altitude Pressure Levels
Packing Style
Jar Size
Processing Time


Hot Pack
< Quarts (1L)
20 minutes


15 minutes



o  Ensure tomatoes are red and fully ripe – if needed, ripen tomatoes in the sun for a few days before making passata;

o  Use paste tomato varieties, like roma or san marzano – field/round varieties are higher in water (resulting in a lower yield of passata per batch);

o  For small batches of passata, use a food mill (or attachment for your bowl mixer with a coarse plate attached);

o  For larger batches, a manual or an electric tomato strainer is very helpful! We use a 0.4hp tomato machine but some electric mincing machines also have tomato attachments which is what we recommend to our students. Manual tomato strainers are lower in cost (often available second-hand);

o  You will need a large pot (or several) to cook the tomatoes – we use several 10 litre stock pots ideal, as they can be stacked when not in use (compared to large passata pots that are more expensive to purchase and store);

o  After cooking the tomatoes, use a fine mesh strainer to remove tomato water (if the passata is too runny) to make the fresh passata thicker and denser.

Author: Megan Radaich          
Image credit: Megan Radaich & D. White
Learn more: www.foodpreserving.org

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