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Script 66.5

Notes to broadcasters

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The tomato is one of the most popular crops grown in the world today. Sometimes farmers harvest a surplus of tomatoes – too many to sell or eat fresh. This script describes one useful way to preserve the harvest, by making a tomato sauce. When families process and preserve their own garden and field crops they are taking an important step to ensure food security. The preserves can also be marketed later on for additional income.

The sterilization technique described in this script is presented in more detail in script 4, Low-cost food processing: preserving foods as jams and sauces. You may wish to broadcast these scripts close together so that the technique will be well understood.

This script is adapted from a radio program produced by the Community Project for Food Preservation and Radio COCO in Cuba.

By sharing the script with a guest (with a voice distinctly different from your own), you can break the long narrative into many parts, and hold the interest of your audience more easily.

Script

Host
-Here in [region/district], tomatoes are plentiful. Sometimes too plentiful! If you have more fresh tomatoes than you can eat or sell, you need to store them. But how? Today we will discuss how to preserve tomatoes by making tomato sauce. Tomato sauce can be stored and used later to make ketchup, sauces, relishes, and curries.

Guest
-Tomatoes grow in a variety of conditions. The plant produces large amounts of fruit which is both tasty and nutritious. You can eat tomatoes fresh, but they are also easy to preserve. And that’s what we’re going to talk about now.

Host
-You can prepare your tomato sauce when tomatoes are in season. As long as the containers are tightly sealed, the sauce will keep for the whole year, without refrigeration. Our recipe for tomato sauce comes from Vilda Figueroa and José Lamas of the Community Project for Food Preservation, in Cuba. Now, let’s get started.

Guest
-It’s important to use good quality tomatoes that are clean and not bruised or diseased. To prepare the tomatoes, first cut them in halves or quarters and cook them without water for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft. Then crush them, using a blender, or press them through a sieve.

Host
-Cook the tomato pulp until it thickens. Once it has reached the thickness you want, add two tablespoons of salt for each litre of tomato sauce.

Guest
-The next step is to fill up our containers. Let’s talk for a moment about the different types of glass containers and lids that you can use. Glass bottles or wide mouth jars both work well. They should have screw top or pressure lids or caps, and they must seal properly airtight. Before bottling the sauce, we have carefully washed our containers and sterilized them with hot water or steam. But remember that you’re going to have to sterilize the sauce again, after it is bottled.

Host
-We’ll talk about sterilizing in a moment, but first, listeners may be wondering what size of container it’s best to use.

Guest
-That depends on your preference, but Vilda and José recommend using bottles or jars that will fit into a cooking pot. They don’t recommend larger containers because they’re more difficult to sterilize.

Host
-Okay, back to preserving our sauce. Pour the sauce into the bottles or jars, leaving approximately two centimetres of space at the top. Then place the lids or caps on top and seal the bottles or jars. Make sure that the containers are air-tight, and that there are no leaks. We recommend turning the containers upside down one by one, to check for leaks.

Guest
-Now that all the containers are filled and sealed, we have to sterilize them. This is an important step and must be done properly to ensure the quality and safety of your preserves.

Host
-To sterilize the sauce, prepare a water bath by heating water in a big pot. There should be enough water to completely cover the containers, with 2 to 3 centimetres of water above the top. We want to bring this water to approximately the same temperature as the jars. The jars and the water should be at about the same temperature so the jars don’t break.

Guest
-Now place the containers into the water bath. We can lower the containers into the hot water in a piece of cloth – for example, a pillowcase. Continue to heat the water until it reaches a full boil. Boil the jars in the water for at least 45 minutes. After sterilization is complete, you can remove the jars or bottles from the water bath and allow them to cool down.

Host
-Remember that the water must completely cover the bottles and that minimum sterilization times must be strictly followed. This is critical for the preservation of your product.

Guest
-You can keep this bottled tomato sauce without refrigeration, until you open it. At that time, if you don’t use it right away, it has to be refrigerated.

Host
-And that’s our program for today. Thank you to Vilda Figueroa and José Lamas from the Community Project for Food Preservation, in Cuba, for providing us with this information.

MUSIC TO END PROGRAM.

Acknowledgements

Adapted by María Rodriguez from a radio program (Programas de radio para preparar conservas: pure de tomate) produced by el Proyecto Comunitario de Conservación de Alimentos (the Community Project for Food Preservation) and Radio COCO, 1999, City of Havana, Cuba.

Reviewed by François Mazaud, Senior Officer, Post-harvest Management Group, FAO, Rome.

Translated from Spanish by María Rodriguez, Gatineau, Canada.

Information Sources

For more information about storing, handling and processing foods, please contact François Mazaud, Post-harvest Management Group, FAO, Viale delle Terme de Caracalla, 01000 Rome, Italy. E-mail:francois.mazaud@fao.org, URL: http://www.fao.org/inpho/