Winter is coming: Tomatoes are in jars, ready for traditional Anatolian meals

Published 19.09.2018 21:51
Updated 19.09.2018 21:52
Winter is coming: Tomatoes are in jars, ready for traditional Anatolian meals

Winter is around the corner and the people of Anatolia have started getting their kitchens ready for this harsh season. Traditionally, women turn the fruits and vegetables of summer into jam and paste or they dry them under the sun to save its fresh taste.

Tomato paste, "salça" in Turkish, is the most effective way to protect summer's delicious tomatoes. The paste is seasoned with spices and used in almost every Turkish meal.

To help people wanting to make tomato paste but who don't have the necessary equipment, Kayseri's Talas district offers huge boilers designed specifically for this task.

All anyone looking to make the paste needs to do is make an appointment and bring their own tomatoes. After the tomatoes are boiled for up to five hours and mixed with various spices, it is put into glass jars to keep fresh the whole year.

A family of four eats at least 25 kilograms of tomato paste every year and to make that much, 100 kilograms of tomato needs to be cooked in the boilers.

Gülşen Sumaktaş, a 59-year-old mother of three, said they make their own tomato paste for their families every year.

"The taste of the paste we make is different, it is tastier. I have been making tomato paste since 1985," said Sumaktaş.

Likewise, 65-year-old Gülsen Dönmez said they bought 170 kilograms of tomatoes just to make paste this year.

"I do not only make this paste for my husband and me but for my children and sisters. They are anxious to get their hands on these jars," said a smiling Dönmez.

Dönemez is one of the lucky few because her husband is her biggest helper.

"We eat this paste as well so we, the men, should help our wives with this hard task," said Keramettin Dönmez.

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