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Tomato Sauce (Sugo)

Growing up as a kid the end of August/Labour Day weekend always brought upon the nerves of going back to school and also the big production of making “the sauce”. As a kid I used to dread helping to make tomato sauce, it was a full day production which meant not hanging out with friends at the cottage. Not to mention the times you got a splash of the burning sauce on your skin or steam burn from the giant pot of sizzling tomato juice. Now that I am older, I value those memories and traditions.

Every family has their own traditions and different way of making the sauce that is special to them. For the purpose of the blog I included a very quick how-to guide below. Keep in mind it’s a bit more complex than I outlined but I included it to give an idea of the process. If you are embarking on your own sugo day without the help of any elders, reach out for more specifics.

Check out the gallery below with some pictures of family and friends making their sauce.

What you need:

  • Your desired amount of Roman tomato bushels from the farm or your local grocery store,
  • Giant pot with propane tank & stand (see pictures below)
  • Stirring spoons (see local Italian store for details)
  • Couple dozen mason jars and lids (1 full bushel makes 13 jars usually)
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Old clothes (key)
  • Tomato crusher i.e.  (https://www.amazon.com/slp/tomato-press/k9gk93y927yabmn


  • Once you get the tomatoes you need to lay them out on a tarp in the garage, this helps them ripen to the perfect amount.
  • Wash the tomatoes cutting off any bruises or bad spots.
  • Toss the cleaned tomatoes in your pot with boiling water.
  • Cook for 20 mins until soft.
  • Strain tomatoes into a jug with holes cut out of the bottom to allow the water to strain, or into a large strainer.
  • Then place the tomatoes in the crusher, setup two pails on both ends of the spouts, the juice filters through to one, and the skins to another.
  • Double press the skins to get as much juice from them and then discard of the remains.
  • Do this on repeat until complete.
  • Then place all your sauce in pots and bring to a boil, once boiled cook for 20 minutes. Add hefty amounts of salt and keep stirring, you don’t want it to burn.
  • While this is happening get your sanitized jars ready by lining them on a table and adding fresh basil to each.
  • When it’s cooked, start your jarring assembly line. Use a milk pitcher or similar container to scoop the sauce out of the pot and add to jars. Wipe tops and then seal. Continue until you are done. 🙂
  • Place the complete jars back into the boxes or on a blanket somewhere safe and cover with more blankets to help them seal and avoid explosions.

Fun Fact: the running tally of the 2020 sugo season is upwards of 600 jars of sauce! Impressive!

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