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Passata di pomodoro
Every year my family gets together to make ‘la salsa’, or passata di pomodoro. Everyone participates, even the nipotini. It is a 2 day event and we are all tired today, as we made about 180 litres of salsa/passata! Some of the tomatoes came from our gardens, but most of them were purchased.

Pomodori ready to be washed

Pomodori ready to be washed

Pomodori from the garden

Pomodori from the garden

La pentola per i pomodori-a really big pot to cook the tomatoes!

La pentola per i pomodori-a really big pot to cook the tomatoes!

The ripe pomodori are washed, then cooked in a really big pot until soft. Then they are drained in baskets lined with cloth. If they aren’t drained well, then the passata will be too watery.  To make ‘pomodori pelati’ (peeled tomatoes) instead of passata, the skin is removed by hand and the whole pomodori are put in jars.

Cooked pomodori drained in baskets lined with cloth

Cooked pomodori drained in baskets lined with cloth

Passata refers to ‘passed’ through a sieve, a passapomodoro, or an electric machine to extract the juice and pulp and remove the skin and seeds. Our machine is called a ‘spremipomodori‘(tomato squeezer!). We thought it bit the dust last year, and bought a new one which didn’t work.  So we had to dig out the old one and give it a try.  This thing just keeps on ticking!

Our 'spremipomodoro' hard at work.  The salsa/passata comes out the front and the skins and seeds come out the side.

Our ‘spremipomodoro’ hard at work. The salsa/passata comes out the front and the skins and seeds come out the side.

Passata di pomodoro

Passata di pomodoro

Salt is added to the passata/salsa as a preservative and it is ladled into jars with fresh basilico (basil). We use canning jars and juice bottles.  My relatives in Italia used to ladle their salsa into big amber beer bottles!
Passatadipomodoro3Sterilized lids are screwed on tightly, and the jars are place back in the large pot, which is lined with cloth so they don’t clang together. The pot is brought to a soft boil for about half an hour.

Vasetti (jars) of passata in a huge cloth lined pot

Vasetti (jars) of passata in a huge cloth lined pot

The warm jars are placed upside down and covered in blankets until the next day when they have cooled. Then they are stored in the cantina!

La cantina!  The bottom shelf is from last year.

La cantina! The bottom shelf is from last year.

I hope you enjoyed your passata di pomodoro tour! Now I’m in the mood for orecchiette con sugo! Ciao, Cristina