The tomato season is coming! It's homemade passata time!
On behalf of the team, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year! May 2014 bring you good health and good times with family and friends. And of course, lots of homemade food and beverages :)
2014 is going to be a busy year for Home Make It. We kick off the year in February/March with our beloved Passata Season. All over Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, weekends will be put aside by families and friends to turn their home garages or backyards into fresh tomato sauce making factories. We love it! We have seen a huge resurgence in interest of families and friends to preserve the Italian way of making homemade tomato sauce or "passata", as it is commonly known. But it's not just Italians that share this passion, the Greek community are also passionate about preserving and bottling fresh tomatoes for their traditional dishes and we are also seeing a steady growth interest in the tomato season from all different cultures.
Just as there is a diversity of cultures enjoying this backyard food tradition, so is there a diversity of methods employed to do it. You only need to ask two different Italians about their process for preserving tomatoes and you'll get two different methods. And each method, invariably the "superior and correct method".
The tomato season is very special to me personally. It has become a family tradition of ours to put aside a weekend at the end of February to meet at my parents home, with my siblings and their children. It's a time we all look forward to and it's a time to be together as a family, work together and yield the rewards together. At lunch time we sit down together to eat a delicious meal prepared for by mum and enjoy some special wines. We work hard, doing our designated jobs in the production of our bottled sauce, but in the background there is always music and laughter. And of course, no family day is complete without some healthy sibling squabbling. What makes the day so special is seeing all the children get involved in the process, and I know this is also one of the highlights for my parents.
Our Passata weekend starts on the Saturday. My brother picks up the boxes of tomatoes on the side of the road in Thomastown from a reputable farmer. The day is spent washing and drying the tomatoes, sterilising the bottles, setting up the garage and equipment, cleaning the crates and setting up the burners. We all go home tired and sore after this day, but excited about the day ahead when the real work begins.
We meet early Sunday morning and get straight to work. The first step is cutting the tomatoes into quarters, discarding any rotten sections. Crates are then filled with the quartered tomatoes. When enough have been cut up, it's time to start our assembly line. The tomatoes are put through the tomato machine which separates the skin and seeds from the pulp. Once the crate is filled with the tomato puree, the salt is added and the puree is ready to be bottled. You can do this the hard way, or you can do it the Home Make It way :) And that's with crates with no spill bottle fillers attached. It's child's play! It's then time to cap the bottles. Once the bottles have been capped they are then carefully placed in our reconditioned oil drums and slow boiled over our four ring gas burners for several hours. Ideally they will then cool over night in the drums before the crates are repacked with dozens and dozens of bottles of "liquid gold".
When the last of the tomato puree is bottled and ready to boil we finish the day with the clean up and a critique of the day. What worked well, what we can do differently and new goals for next year? Last year, each family took home 55 bottles of tomato sauce. This year we have raised the bar to 100 bottles each. Now that's a lot of tomatoes, roughly 30 boxes. But it's not just about making fresh homemade sauce, it's about creating lifelong memories for our children and preserving a slow food tradition from our ancestors, which will hopefully be continued by our children.
We use our bottled tomatoes for all our traditional family dishes including pasta sauces, casseroles and pizzas. There's enough to use all year round and nothing beats the taste of natural homemade tomato sauce.
It was a privilege last year for Home Make It to be able to donate passata equipment to the Sydney Youth Food Movement's "Passata Day". The Youth Food Movement is group of young people who share a passion for good food and are committed to a sustainable food future. Here's a fantastic video clip of one of their "Passata Days". We look forward to getting involved with the Youth Food Movement again this year.
If you are new to making tomato sauce, you may enjoy coming along to one of our Tomato Passata/ Sauce Making Courses coming up in February at both our Clayton and Reservoir Stores. You can book directly online or contact our stores to secure your place.
We have also started taking bookings for other homemade food and beverage Summer Courses for 2014. These include our Advanced Homemade Winemaking Course, Cheese Making Courses, and Cider Making Course.
Don't forget we have an Online Store for convenience and ease of shopping with the security of PayPal. Or call into our Reservoir or Clayton Store. We are open 9.00am til 5.00pm Monday to Friday, and 9.00am til 1.00pm on Saturdays. You can also follow up on Twitter or Facebook for daily updates.
Click on the banner below to check out our SPECIALS - Theres a lot of passata/sauce making equipment on SALE!
Looking forward to sharing more news with you from the Home Make It team in 2014. Have a great weekend!