12 adults, 2 kids, various buckets, colanders, pots, jars and 100 kilos of tomatoes found themselves in Crowdsaucing co-ordinator Monique Miller’s backyard yesterday participating in some serious research for our first Crowdsaucing Day this coming April 30th.

You can watch passata masters on YouTube, read about sauce making in glossy preserving books, even talk to folk with roma red stained hands who have been doing it forever but we reckon there’s no better way to learn about what we are collectively about to get into than putting a bunch of passata novices together with a big pile of tomatoes and seeing what happens.

This morning a weary, but happy Monique Miller reports “it’s so great but there’s lots to learn”.Monique said her first lesson was that saucing is as much an exercise in teamwork as it is in preserving.  Monique thinks having one or two designated nonas will help keep everybody organised and occupied through the day.

The second lesson was that 12 people were more than enough hands for all the coring, saucing, bottling, cleaning up jobs plus people to cook a pasta meal, keep the workers provided with cups of tea and refreshments and somebody to take care of the kids.  Monique thinks you wouldn’t want any more people than this unless
 perhaps they were playing accordions and dancing to keep up morale.
The third lesson was that it takes a long time to cook all the passata jars once all the tomatoes have been sauced. In traditional Italian saucing they cook in huge 44 gallon drums on portable gas burners which might not be an option for everyone.  We found that you either have lots of big pots going at once or people can take sauce to cook or even freeze at home.
Other findings were;
  • A list of jars, funnels, ladles, buckets, scoopers and other equipment would be helpful – Monique is working on one as you read this.
  • Same sized bottles or jars, with popup button lids are the best
  • A 10kg box of tomatoes gives you about 7-8 standard 750 ml passata bottles.
If you have any saucing tips or stories you’d like to share or want to get in on Crowdsaucing Day next April 30th Click here. Oh and in breaking tomato growing news Luke from Alkira Organics, a farmer’s collective in Tresco, Northern Victoria, is planting enough plants to deliver five tonnes of saucing tomatoes to Fair Food right at the end of April.  Fingers crossed.
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