The Italian Tomato Sauce preparation on August’s nights is one of the most ancient and fascinating Apulian traditions, a ritual that is still repeated in many houses in southern Italy and that gather all the family.
Preparing the Italian tomato sauce is almost a ritual in this land, a meeting time for the entire family, that around this small domestic production line, it’s used to talk and exchange memories and anecdotes.
Nowadays we use to buy the cans of tomato pulp and peeled tomatoes at the supermarket, once, they were produced at home.
Were prepared quintals of it, because it was enough for the whole family and because it lasted for the winter months.
Today this ancient tradition, although abandoned by many, persists in many families who prefer the genuineness of a homemade product to one made industrially.
Really important is the choice of tomatoes, that must be ripe, fleshy and sweet.
The preparation began at the first light of dawn.
First of all, tomatoes were cooked in a large boiler, then passed into a tub, where an hard-edged wooden board was inserted, which, thanks to rubbing, reduced the tomatoes into a thousand pieces.
Then it is passed through a sieve, in order to separate and eliminate the tomato juice from seeds and flakes.
This tomato sauce was poured into a large terracotta basin, it was then salted, covered and left to rest on the balconies in the sun, where sometimes it was mixed with a wooden spoon until most of the water evaporated and the sauce became more consistent and took on a dark red color.
At this point, the bottles of sauce were filled, with the addition of salt, oil, bay leaves, and basil. The last phase consisted in the sterilization of the bottles, which happened by cooking the bottles in a bain-marie in an aluminum drum filled with water and placed in rags so that the bottles did not shatter when touched.
It was the addition of this preserve that gave an unmistakable scent and a unique flavor.