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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tomato Paste for 70 Cents a Jar and Other Savings

My daughter's final weeks of a difficult pregnancy were right in the middle of tomato season so I bottled what I could and made some relish and got the sauce done but the paste had to wait. I turned about 25kg into pulp and then froze it in containers in the freezer till I could devote a day to paste making.

We got a call to say that a sheep was ready and heading for our freezer within the week so it was time to clear it out and defrost ready for the arrival and so the pulp had to be dealt with.
You can read how I make tomato paste here or in the recipe book.
It is a process that takes quite a few hours in the oven so it's good to make economical use of it and bake along.

I had cut a pumpkin a couple of days before and that needed cooking off so I cut the rest up and it went in on trays with the tiniest sprinkle of some of my home grown caraway seed to roast. For lunch we mixed some of the pumpkin with lacto-fermented beetroot (recipe link here) and a dollop of home made yoghurt. The sweetness of the roasted pumpkin goes so well with the salty tanginess of the beets.

After lunch I roasted a chicken which also made space in the freezer. This is one of the young cocks that we raised for meat. We don't raise a lot of chickens but every year Craig gets about 20 day old chicks to raise and usually there is half and half of each sex. We cull the boys at about 14-16 weeks. The meat is amazing and takes me right back to childhood to how birds used to taste. This became dinner and the roasted pumpkin was added to the other vegetables accompanying it.

Some of the pumpkin went into ravioli and the rest went into soup the next days.

when I finally turned off the oven I popped in a casserole dish of heated and cooled milk with a couple of tabs of yoghurt to make another batch of fresh yoghurt which was left overnight for a slow ferment and in the morning ready to eat. Yum!

So although I had the oven on for several hours I managed to make economical use of it. It was one of the things drummed into us at school during Home Economics class.
So working on the oven cost of about 35 cents/hour I spent say about $2 for the day but created several meals and ended up with 9 bottles of tomato paste.
I spent a further .30 on water bathing the paste in the bottles and $4 for sealing rings

 so that means I made each 280g bottle of paste for $0.70.
lunch cost about $0.20 for the home made yoghurt
roast dinner cost entirely free except for a tabs of flour and say $0.50 for onions (we didn't grow)
dinner the next night of pumpkin ravioli for 2 was probably no more than $2
Soup cost next to nothing but a few cents for heating
1 lt yoghurt total cost about $2

ALL that food for less than $5.00
and a batch of tomato paste for the pantry that should last us the year through for $6.30

I haven't taken costings to the nth degree like water for the tomato plants and I certainly haven't added a labour cost but you can certainly see how much you save by doing it and growing it yourself. It is without a doubt a team effort with Craig putting in more hours in the garden than I do and while we love making our own pasta I don't know that I could "whip up a family batch of ravioli" if I had a gaggle of young children. You might think it seems like a lot of work but it all unfolded nicely and I had a beautiful productive Sunday. There is nothing nicer than pottering at home, nurturing family, filling the pantry and getting things done. 


  1. Beautiful images. I will miss our homegrown chicken when we are living on the boat. But at least we have a freezer full of our homegrown beef and lamb.

  2. I love a day when I potter around in the Kitchen and fill the freezer. your ravioli looks awesome - I have never made my own pasta.

  3. hello Tanya
    all your food looks delicious!!!


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