Passata day













Autumn is tomato season in the valley and that means bottling time.  In early April we organise the annual passata day, where we buy in loads of tomatoes, squish them, bottle them and boil them, then store the preserves for the winter months.    Every year we get braver and braver and more organised, especially now that I've come to the sad realisation that I can't actually grow all the tomatoes myself, and that it's best to order most of them in from a grower 20 minutes away.

Next year, though, maybe I might invest in a proper tomato squisher, like this one,  to tackle the one hundred kilos I aim to squish, although giving the children the task of cranking the handle makes light work of the chore.  With bottles washed and sterilized, tomatoes chopped and cored, they are pushed through the mill before being filled into bottles and capped. Then we light a fire, fill an old drum with the bottles, cover with water and boil for an hour over the fire.

Two families feasted on a celebratory birthday lunch while the bottles boiled with home grown beef, (a steer called Bobby) grilled on above mentioned fire, salad and tomatoes from the garden all washed down with Aperol Spritz.   To keep to the Italian theme.

Although I truly love the idea of enjoying those bottles of sauce all winter, passata day achieves so much more than a full pantry.   To me it's an all too rare opportunity to spend a beautiful day with family and friends, actually making something delicious to share.  But passtata day also shows my children the importance of seasonality and waste reduction. And even though it's not necessarily our heritage, we're creating a family tradition that values the importance of preserving local, seasonal food.  

That's something worth bottling.

12 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tradition to celebrate.

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    1. Thanks so much Elizabeth, what a gorgeous blog you have!

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  2. One day I hope to make passata.
    This is such a lovely little tradition you have started. x

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    1. You totally should Zara! And you don't need to make heaps to start with, even one or two bottles is worth it! x

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  3. Beautiful stuff Michelle. I think surrendering to the idea of growing 100% of the tomatoes for this project is a great idea, something I need to remember! Happy Sunday to you.

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    1. Yes, Jane, sometimes we need to admit we can't do it all....no shame there! Happy Sunday to you too xx

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  4. Reminds me of when mum and dad would make our yearly batch of tomato sauce - as kids we preferred the store-bought version, but I now miss the whole process of making the sauce and eating it as well - it really does taste so much better. Maybe I'll have to convince the parenticals to bring back this little family tradition? :)

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  5. What a perfect family day! I look forward to starting a similar tradition with my family one day :)
    Thanks for inviting us into your special family day x

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  6. What a lovely thing to do. I so wanted to have enough tomatoes do make passata this year but we kept eating them! Next yearI need to plant lots more:) I love that green colander. How gorgeous is that? x

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  7. Such gorgeous photos and a lovely story.

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  8. What an epic day! Lovely photos I wish I was there1

    www.dancingthroughsunday.typepad.com

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  9. We had a very good crop of tomato this year and so I was able to make tomato relish or jam with our crop. A couple of kilos worth every few days. Slight adjustments to the receipe each time. It has been wonderful to pass on a bottle when friends come for lunch and enjoy the relish or jam. Enjoying your blog

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