Tomato sauce day also known as “sugo” day is the most important and special day to my family. This sauce is what I use in every single one of my recipes and the most requested tutorial over the years. Gathering and making sauce to last us a year is a tradition that I hold so close to my heart. This Italian Tomato Sauce making tradition, has been a tradition for generations. Steve and his family are from Cardinale, Calabria and have been making sauce this way for decades. His uncle (zio) Iginio is from Trento, Italy and he also made sauce this exact way as well. This is by far the most incredible sauce which we use for soups, stews, and use as a base when we make pasta with meatballs, with ribs, cutlets, and many other recipes. Traditions are extremely important to me and in Bulgaria we have many that we follow. We have been preserving and canning food for as long as I can remember. In Bulgaria, we never had any fancy machines like we do today, so we always did everything by hand. We would make jam, string bean soup in jars, pickled veggies, fruit compote, vegetable spreads, and so much more. Tradition means everything to me, and I hope I can inspire you. I know that every family makes sauce differently depending on the region, so please let me know how you make yours in the comments and share your tips with our amazing community on here so that everyone can learn. Our sauce truly tastes like liquid gold, so I hope you make it and enjoy.
Italian Tomato Sauce
- 3 bushels of Roma Tomatoes or San Marzano
- basil for each jar
- salt to taste some families leave out the salt completely
- 45 wide mouth one litre mason jars
- wide mouth rings and round lids
- Buy the bushels of tomatoes. Take each tomato and cut off the green stem at the top. If anything is rotten on the tomato, we cut it off as well. Place the tomatoes in clean cold water and set aside.
- In the meantime, we get the gas burner ready and hook up the propane tank to it. Light the burner and put a big pot on top with water. Boil the water and once boiled, we add in the clean and cut tomatoes. Let them boil for 15 minutes or until they are soft, and the skins are falling off.
- Once the tomatoes are boiled, we take them out with a big metal strainer and place them in a basket that has holes. You can use anything that has some holes so that the water drains out.
- In the meantime, we get the electric tomato squeezer machine set up with two buckets on each end. One bucket will catch the peels and seeds and the other will catch the tomato sauce.
- We put the boiled tomatoes in the top funnel of the machine and press down with the tamper. You will see the sauce come out of the spout and the skins come out on the side. Once all the tomatoes have finished, we take the bucket with the peels and pass those through as well. We do this one time, but you can do it twice as you will get a lot of sauce out of the peels. We compost the peels after we have passed them through.
- Once the sauce is in the pails, we like to add salt to taste but you can also leave it plain as well. Always add salt a little at a time and taste and adjust.
- Now you can wash the basil leaves and dry them as well. I put mine through a salad spinner and add a small handful in each mason jar. We take a funnel and put it on top of the jar and use a small pot to scoop the sauce into the funnel filling each jar to the rim. You can also use a milk jug as well if that’s easier on you.
- Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel and tighten the lid. We dump out the water that the tomatoes boiled in and add fresh new water. We put a thick cloth inside the pot and fill it with water and let it boil. Once it’s boiling, we take the closed jars and put them in the hot water with heatproof cloves. You can also use canning jar lifter as well to place the jars inside if you have it on hand. The jars boil for about 30 minutes, we then take them out and place them lid side down onto a blanket. You should hear a “pop” and that’s how you know the lid is fully sealed.
- Cover the jars with a blanket (or a few) and let them rest overnight. The following day we flip the over and store them away. Enjoy for soups, stews, pasta, chilli, or anything you wish.