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Canned Tomatoes with Bay Leaf recipe - Pelati all'Alloro


The word pelato means skinned, and up until the mid-1800s referred to potted game. Then tomatoes became more popular, and now if you hear Italians mention pelati as an ingredient, they are almost always referring to canned tomatoes. Here the canned tomatoes gain grace from bay leaves.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: Several jars canned tomatoes


  • 7 3/4 pounds (3 1/2 k) plum or San Marzano tomatoes, if possible vine-ripened
  • An onion, finely sliced
  • Several bay leaves
  • A sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • A teaspoon sugar
  • Several 1-cup (250 ml) canning jars
  • Olive oil


Set a pot of water to boil.

Chop 3 pounds of tomatoes and put them in a deep saucepot with the onion, thyme, oregano, and a bay leaf. Season with salt and sugar (if the tomatoes are acid), cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes more.

While these tomatoes are simmering, blanch the remaining tomatoes a few at a time in the boiling water. Peel them, cut them in half lengthwise, and dispose of the seeds. Distribute them in the canning jars, with a bay leaf or two in each.

Blend the tomato sauce or put it through a food mill, and use it to fill the jars, tapping them to dislodge air bubbles. Cover each with a thin layer of olive oil, and seal the jars with their lids. Sterilize them by putting them in a canning pot with ample water to cover, bringing the pot to a boil, and simmering the jars for an hour. Let them cool and put them in a cool dry place.

Want to use some right off? Make pasta with eggplant and pistachio nuts.
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