From nature to the table: the tradition of preserves

When tomatoes boil slowly in the pot make a noise similar to the grumbling of an elderly person who complains about something.

The scent remembers the Summer and the long sunny days, the time when the most mature tomatoes are harvested and put in the cans, ready for the winter. An ancient tradition, repeated every year, to remind us of the importance of nature.

Preserves as grandmother did

In Southern Italy it is customary to preserve summer vegetables so that they can be used in the winter months when cold can ruin the crop, leaving farmers without enough food.

Nowadays it is no longer a matter of survival, but the tradition of preserves remains for the pleasure of eating genuine products prepared with their own hands.

Summer is the best month to make preserves: this season provides the most tasty yield and it is easier to get good results.

There are different ways of handle semi-processed vegetables: tomatoes can be dried or processed into sauce, aubergines and zucchini are dried and stored in oil, lampascioni are boiled and stuffed, peppers are chopped and used to make sauces.

Dehydration also takes place through salt, eliminating the water that could be an harmful part during storage. Once dried, the vegetables are stored in extra virgin olive oil and placed in cans, which are stuck well and boiled to vacuum-seal the jars.

Of course, not only vegetables are used, but also fruits. Some are used to make jams, such as strawberries and plums, others are stored under sugar or alcohol, such as cherries.

The perfect recipe

The preparation of preserves in the countryside is a celebration: usually they use the recipe found in the grandmother’s notebook to get a perfect result.

Each family has a secret recipe that is handed down from generation to generation. The whole family is invited to participate in the preparation and then share lunch, sheltered from the sun waiting for the last bathe of the season.

In the Summer, the courtyards of the houses in Southern Italy are red coloured for tomatoes left to dry on wooden boards and the air smells of freshly baked bread and wild fennel.

But you can also feel the scent of fried eggplants, almond milk and anise used to prepare biscuits. If you close your eyes you too can imagine these perfumes! Or you can find them in the Apulia Joy Appetizer box: Summer will come right to you.