Doing the Tomatoes (Part II)

Before finishing my chapter on bottling tomatoes the Italian way, I wanted to make a comment on another test result (see yesterday’s post): my active form of vitamin D, or 1,25-Dihydroxycholecalciferol, is right at the low end of the normal range. A close friend of mine, who is my vitamin D expert, told me that I must start taking a vitamin D supplement. I am sure she is right, so tomorrow I am going to a pharmacy to see if I can find the brand that she recommended. In the meantime, since it’s lovelPomodori, sabato mattinay and very cool here (we are in a small town near Avellino, about 40 minutes from Naples), I will sit out in the sun and do some reading.

Pomodori 2007





Now for the tomato story. Yesterday morning we boiled the remaining tomatoes (the ones that we had not pressed into cauldrons and put inside the wood oven on Friday afternoon) which were then left to drip through a kitchen towel (photo on the left). Once ready, the tomatoes were passed through an electric tomato strainer (photo on the right). This wonderful machine separated the peelings and seeds from the tomato pulp and juice. Easy!Pomodori, sabato mattina 2

And this was the result:

We then bottled the cooked and passed tomatoes and put the bottles inside a homemade caldaia, or water bath canner. Since I am not an expert tomato-bottler (but mainly I think that my husband and his kind relatives wanted to spare me most of the hard work), I was given small easy tasks. It was fun, lots of teasing and good humor and laughter. We are all bushed today, though. So today will be a day of rest and relaxation. And of course, we shall be eating pasta al pomodoro! 😉

Tomorrow we are almost certainly going to Pompeii, so I should have some good photos to post on the blog on Tuesday. Stefano and I have been to Pompeii before (several years ago), but just as we were about to enter the Villa dei Misteri, or Villa of the Mysteries (which refer to secret initiation rites), a loud and scary thunderstorm sent us scampering toward our cars. We were thus forced to leave early and missed seeing the villa’s remarkable frescoes. Tomorrow we will visit the villa first thing!


  1. Margaret, great report!
    As you stay in Avellino, try to visit also Ercolano. I loved it because it’s not just ruins, but there are also real houses…


  2. Do make sure your Vitamin D Supplement has the word CHOLECALCIFEROL in the ingredients or is clearly marked D3.

    Depending on your current status 400iu will raise your status by between 7 & 12 nmol/L. The lower your status the higher the rise but it tales off as you get nearer optimum.

    Optimal levels (for lowest cancer incidence) are around 125nmol/L

    If you figures are in ng/mL such as 40ng/mL you divide by.4 =100nmol/L
    If yours are around 20ng/mL that would be 50nmol/L.
    In which case you would need another 75nmol/L to feel your strongest and have optimum feelings of well being.
    That requires something like 2000 -3000iu/daily of Vitamin D3. You may find it difficult to buy more than 1000iu Vitamin d.
    I buy mine by post from the links page of The Vitamin D Council Website. They sell 5000iu capsules to average 3000iu/daily you just need to take 4 or 5 capsules each week. I live in the UK at latitude 53 so need more sunlight/vitamin d. I take one 5000iu daily except on those days I can lie almost naked in the sunlight for 20 minutes when my shadow is shorter than my height. As Vitamin D is fat soluble it is best taken with food as it requires bile to digest it.

  3. Margaret, I am so enjoying reading your blog. I started with the first date that it started and gradually reading through in chronologic order. My first year in my present home was about 20 years ago. I grew 2 Celebrity tomato plants, and from them got so many tomatoes that I did have to can them, obtaining enough bottles of them to last my family of 3 for a year! Unfortunately after that I was using so many pesticides (I had roses), that I fear I may have irreversibly contaminated the soil. So I have not grown produce since then, and am looking forward to moving in 2 years, when my son will be finishing at our local college. In my next home I will once again grow vegetables and fruits – organically. I’ve learned my lesson!

    I, too, have a vitamin D deficiency and even with 1000 iu supplement per day was still mildly deficient according to my blood tests. My doctor increased my supplementation to 2000 iu daily, and I am hoping that will put me into the normal range. I wonder if vitamin D defiency has anything to do with causing the onset of MGUS/MM. OR whether (I hope not) we are just feeding the abberrant cells…?

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