The annual tradition of doing tomatoes is something my husband and his family has been doing forever. My sister-in-law told me she remembered being little and her and her cousins would wear handkerchiefs on their heads, and cut up the tomatoes by hand. Child labour laws don’t apply to Italians during tomato season!

Luckily technology has provided some help, and we no longer need to peel or cut them by hand, we just need to wash them, boil them and squish them.

Jar them and boil again and voila!

Sugo for the rest of the year.

My family has never partaken in this ritual, as growing up in a condo left us no place to do it, or store it. It has only been since meeting D that I learned how it was done first hand. I had always heard stories, of how it took all day or how you were a hostage to the garage until every jar was sealed and bucket was cleaned.

I helped once, after the Little Bird was born, but they only gave me the job of sealing the jars; which I found very boring. Ever since then, they haven’t needed me. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

This year, not only did I show up, but GamerBoy wanted to help too, so while we had too many cooks in the kitchen again, it was best not to overwork my in-laws. And my in-laws moved the production to the backyard, so we had more room. So L (my sister-in-law) washed and sealed the jars, D did the heavy lifting of baskets full of tomatoes and squished the boiled tomatoes and GamerBoy helped scrape the squisher and kept everything moving smoothly. Eventually F, our oldest nephew pitched in too, filling the drum.

(Sorry, I don’t actually know all the proper terms)

As for me, I jarred.

We finished by lunchtime and now the cantina is lined with jars of tomatoes ready to be transformed into delicious sugo.


Tomatoes ready to be transformed!
L and I washing tomatoes


My father-in-law boiling the tomatoes
They look ready!
Time to take them out and let them drain


Let the squishing begin!
It can get a little messy!


Evidence of my hard work!
So many jars, and GamerBoy and D are still hard at work!
C, F and GamerBoy filling the drum!
Almost full!
Two drums boil away!
Empty baskets and supplies!
Enjoying an espresso now that the work is complete!


2 responses to “Sugo”

  1. This is the first I’ve ever heard of sugo. What an undertaking – but all worth it, right? my family similarly tag-teams tamales every Christmas season. Everyone has a job. I do other things, yes, but I’m also a taste-tester. Very important.


    • It’s definitely all worth it! There is no sauce that takes better than one from homemade jarred tomatoes!
      And taste-testing is a very important job…one we all fight for! 🙂


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