Tomato Paste Made in Villages:
Tomatoes becoming ripe and red under the son of Reyhanlı are harvested every year in August. They are filled in onion sacks after being washed and cut into four pieces. A horizontal platform is set up. Women wearing plastic boots trample down the tomatoes just like grapes.
The extracted tomato juice is filled into copper cauldrons and boiled until having a dense consistency. When tomato juice is consistent, salt is added, and laid under the sun for dehydration. Tomato paste is ready when it turns dark red and has a pasty consistency.
Pepper Paste Made in Villages:
Peppers becoming red and harvested in August are washed, their stalks are removed, peppers are cut into two pieces and their veins and seeds inside are separated. They are laid out under the sun for drying. Harvested peppers are washed and cleaned, and sun-dried for 2 days.
The whether in this period, between the end of August and start of September, is called “pepper hot days” in Hatay. In this period, peppers become crispy and dehydrated due to the temperature difference between days and nights, and gets really dried. Dried peppers are ground in grinders first with large and then narrow openings, salted, and then laid under the sun in trays again.
Being fully dehydrated, peppers now becomes pepper paste.
A local pepper type is used in pepper paste making in Hatay. This pepper, called “pinçevlik”, is a paste pepper that is fleshy, cylinder-shaped, 22-27cm long, and has very few veins. Its yield in paste making is very high. It has few seeds.