Is it possible to travel to Italy and not taste pasta? We don’t think so!
Imagine our excitement in August 2018 when our accommodation hosts invited us to the family tomato bottling day. Of course tomatoes are the basis of so many pasta sauces made all over the world.
Selena and Sergio and their family bottled 250 kilograms of tomatoes in 2018! The family possesses a generous soul and share their produce with family and friends. We stayed at their beautiful Il Poggetto country house in the heart of Tuscany. The tomato bottling takes place in an outdoor section of their garden.
Uncooked Tomato Sauce
Before we started we imagined hours of skin peeling. But we discovered Selena and Sergio use a special machine to separate tomato skin from the bulk of the tomato. This machine works like magic. One bowl receives the skins and the second bowl fills with the tomato pureed for bottling. Rob did not stop smiling when he took charge of operations! You can see the box for the machine above his head.
In no time at all we poured uncooked tomato sauce into bottles and topped each one with some salt, sprigs of basil and one clove of garlic. It is the equivalent of the tomato puree we buy in the shops. You won’t be surprised that the home-made equivalent tastes a thousand times better.
Pasta Sauce and bottled tomato pieces
Nothing is wasted and the discarded tomato skins go through a second process. They are placed in a pot to boil and soften and run through the machine again. Then this mixture is cooked into pasta sauces. The pasta sauce contained the tomato puree, tomato skins, onions, celery (including leaves) and carrots.
Tomatoes are also cut into quarters and bottled.
All the bottles – puree, sauce and pieces – are then wrapped in cloth and boiled for 40 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. This sterilises the bottles so they last without mould for the entire year.
Often the best holiday experiences are literally on your doorstep. As we grow older, we enjoy the simple travel experiences better than hitting the tourist trails. Tomato bottling in Tuscany rates as one of our happiest days. We feel lucky that our hosts invited us to join in this traditional family activity.