La Conserva – March 2013

Another year rolls around…

Tomato grinderWhich means another round of the inaugural conserva (tomato sauce) making. Flying in from Brisbane late last night, we awoke this morning to find the clacking of pots, and my brother (pictured) clearly preparing himself for the day work.

Lydia looking on

Making homemade sauce may seem easy on paper, but the steps involved took up almost half a day, many beers, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of chablis, and countless Roma tomatoes.

The first step, obviously, requires the pre-ordering and acquisition of the best Roma’s you can find. And you will need plenty.

Roma Tomatoes When you have selected these, they are sorted and the average ones are discarded. The rest are sliced for stage 1 of the preparation.

sauce 11When they have been sliced, they are dumped into tubs.

Sliced tomatoes in tubsFrom the tubs, they go into a large pot.

Sliced tomatoes in potAnd in the large pot they are sat on top of a gas burner and boiled.

Gas burnerRemoving the pot from the stove, we are left with some tasty, soft boiled tomatoes, and a crap tonne of water.

boiled tomatoes

Needing to remove the first lot of water, we first drain them, and then pile the tomatoes into a bag where they are further squeezed.

draining tomatoesThis is necessary, because watery sauce adds nothing to flavour and whilst it will stretch the yield you get, it is a similar principle to low yields in growing grapes – i.e. – less is best.

Next, beer.

peroni red can

Once hydrated, it’s time to take the tomatoes and feed them into the machine.

Feeding the tomatoes

This is where the magic happens, and all the hard work starts to come alive. The sea of red testament to a fantastic product, hard work and a long legacy handed down from generation to generation.

Coming aliveThe tomato skins are re-passed through the press 2-3 times to extract all the juice. Because of the means to drain them previously, the viscosity of the sauce is thick, and undue liquidity kept to a minimum.

Liquid Gold.

From here, it’s time to take your new, or sterilised bottles to begin bottling.

Bottles ready to be sauced.

Next, more beer,

HydratingAfter another round, it’s time to go ahead and put the sauce into the bottles.

BottlingAnd to cap them off, tight.

CappingOnce capped, bottles are placed on top of the gas burner and heated yet again.

Finished product.And from there it’s job done. Once this is complete, bottles are removed and stored – where they may be kept and put to good use for years.


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