The annual passata making in Calabria

In July and August tomatoes are ripe and juicy and ready to be picked. Many Italian families will go through a long and intense period of very hard work to transform these tomatoes into a delicious, and a true classic of Italian cuisine: the “passata” or tomato sauce.

Here we are near Tropea in a beautiful farm immersed in the Calabrian countryside.
Everything is still so natural and unspoilt here and that is Calabria! So wild and beautiful.

tomatoes in field

Tomatoes are selected and picked

picking tomatoes in Italy

picking tomatoes in Italy

Tomatoes need to be very ripe, bright red and soft to qualify for passata making

Ripe tomatoes in Calabria Italy

Italian tomatoes

They are then carried from the field in a wheelbarrow

Italian tomatoes

They are washed ready to be turned into that bright red juice that’s called passata

Italian tomatoes making tomato sauce

Italian tomatoes making tomato sauce

First they are put into boiling water for about 10-15 minutes and then sieved through a “passata making” machine to remove all the skins, seeds and core which are not added and which if retained would prevent the sauce from obtaining a delicious, silky and smooth texture.

Maria is now very busy!

making passata in Calabria

making passata in Calabria

Often the whole family is involved

Italian tomatoes making tomato sauce

Often herbs are added to the passata for an extra aromatic flavour. Here you have plenty of fresh basil and oregano from the field which if added to the passata forms and irresistibly tasty combination!

Herbs for tomato sauce

Jars are washed and prepared for bottling the passata.
After the passata is added they are then boiled for about 10 minutes to seal them and to make sure the contents are well preserved.
A jar of passata prepared in this way can keep perfectly well for years.

washing jars for tomato sauce

It really is hard work but the end result is certainly worth it!

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9 Responses to The annual passata making in Calabria

  1. gloria

    Aw Alida what beautiful and lovely post!
    I love these amazing and ripe tomatoes.You make me feel nostalgic about our summer:))

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    Great story on “passata.” Love when you take us with you on these journeys. Especially that my family is from Calabria, I enjoy seeing the country. The tomatoes look so ripe and ready to eat. I can see that it is very hard work and very intense. But as you said, it is all worth it at the end! Delizioso! Thank you for sharing, have a wonderful day…
    Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      My pleasure Dottie. I can imagine your parents doing all of this during their time in Italy. And I am sure you know most of it too! Mothers are often the best teachers!

  3. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    Love this post Alida! It’s so great to see the traditional way of doing things. I love passata, but didn’t realise it was such an intensive process to make it. I had no idea there was a machine for removing the ‘bits’ form the tomatoes!

  4. Diana


    I love this post. This time of year I see all of these machines on sale in the stores. It always made me smile thinking about someone making their own passata, because in the States, we have NO idea how or where it comes from…it is just there in the supermarket. These are some of the things I love about living in Italy! 🙂

    Have a good weekend!

    • Alida

      I love homemade passata. Nothing else beats it! Ciao!

  5. Silvia Panato

    Thanks Alida for posting this, Antonio and Maria are so happy you did it. They are making some more “passata” today. It is amazing the way the do it.
    And Francesca, I told Antonio you want to hug him ….well you made his day 😉
    Love from Calabria

    • Alida

      Lucky you to have such a fab passata! It must taste amazing! A big kiss to both Antonio and Maria!!

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