The Heritage Project ®
Preserving the Intangible Heritage of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on respect to seasonal rhythms, techniques concerning preservation and consumption of food. These are also moments of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity.
Making ciappi is a mix of all these aspects.
When tourists come in Sicily, they usually remain shocked by the taste of Sicilian vegetables and they always ask me why. Well, the reason is a mix of environmental characteristics, like the high sun irradiation, the Sicilian soil, water from aquifers, which have a high degree of salinity which gives a sweet flavor to the tomato. But the other 50% depends on the fact that we don't force vegetables to grow faster or all year long or to produce more and more. We respect the natural cycle of nature. In Sicily, starting from June until September, tomatoes naturally ripes. Ciliegino from Pachino and Datterino are just a few of the most famous variety that grows in Sicily.
Sicilian Tomatoes are extremely popular all over the world because of the high organoleptic qualities, a rich peculiar taste and a high level of C Vitamins and polyphenols.
I ciappi (Sundried Tomatoes) born from the necessity to preserve tomatoes all year long. Because of the seasonality of vegetables, since the past, women designed techniques to preserve those.
So when summer occurs and every family is plenty of tomatoes, the fresh one is used fresh. The remaining tomatoes were (and still are) transformed in "Ibuttigghi" - literally Bottles - that basically are tomato sauce freshly handmade and i ciappi - sundried tomatoes. In this way all year long every family had his own batch of tomato sauce and sundried tomatoes.
The "buttighi and ciappi" making is an important social moment for family or friends. It lasts one day (or more). Usually, the whole family (in Sicily family means grandma, grandpa, aunts, nephews) or a group of people, meet all together in a "casa di campagna" - countryside house that corresponds to the holiday house. Everyone bring its own tomatoes batch and then all together we make the preserves. It is a fun moment that usually children hate because everyone works and have a specific role but I can assure that growing up we deeply appreciate this sweet memory as an important moment of personal growth, affirmation and renewal of family and learning of ancient techniques.
1. Cut tomatoes in a half leaving the two parts attached one another and pour in a wood surface. Be sure to cut it in the middle otherwise you are going to have a bigger and a smaller part and they will dry in a different way.
2. Sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt. This will help get the water out from the tomatoes but most important it is a natural preservative and antibacterial.
3. Pour the tomatoes outside under the sun and let them dry for few days. Be sure to get them inside the house during the night.
4. When they are completely dry (after about 3 days of exposure to the hot June-July sun) pick them up and place them in boiling water for a few minutes to sterilize them, and let them dry again under the sun.
Our Organic Semi Sundried Tomatoes
If this time you don't have the chance to make you own Ciappi We covered your back.
Sundried Sicilian ORGANIC Tomatoes with Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Frantoi Cutrera. Frantoi Cutrera is located in the Hyblaean region of Sicily, they produce one of the best EVOO from Italy (Winner of the Gold Metal this year)!