This past Sunday we stopped by the local pick-your-own farm, with the grandchildren. “Fruits and Such Orchard”, find them on facebook for daily updates. Anyway, we stopped by because Renae had posted that she had pre-picked tomatoes for sale. We purchased about 25 lbs. to supplement what we had on our 24 plants so we could have enough to can a nice batch of quarts.
Our wonderful neighbors, the Smith’s, have tutored us through the process, starting with the growing – Ross has the most wonderful tomatoes – they have a double driveway and grow the tomatoes on a strip between the driveways.
So Monday evening I prepared the kitchen for the process. This includes, clearing the counters, sterilizing everything to be used including the counters. This time to sterilize the jars I went with a recommendation in one of my preserving books, it said to place the jars in the dishwasher and fun a full cycle with heated dry, the heated dry will keep your jars hot while you pack them. The timing for this was tricky, we had to wait for the dishwasher to finish before we could begin – I prefer the boiling method of sterilizing and then pour boiling water in your jars to keep them hot while you work with your produce. It is always good to try a technique before you shoot it down as invalid. (Now maybe if I was canning a higher quantity the dishwasher method would have more benefits.)
A couple of years ago Drue invited me over to “help” can some tomatoes. This tutorial probably saved our marriage (just kidding) but their hints were really helpful. First figure out the path the tomato will have to take.
My better half does the first 4 steps
1) cut an X in the bottom of the tomato and core it at this time
2) drop several scored tomatoes in boiling water for about 60 seconds (this loosen the peel)
3) drop these tomatoes in an ice bath to quick cool them
4) peel them and set them aside
Now for my part of the process
5) cut the tomatoes into chunks and place in large bowl
6) using the jar funnel and a ladle scoop tomatoes into a quart jar
7) use the bubble remover to remove the air pockets in the jar and continue to fill until 1/2″ space remains from the top of the jar
8) wipe the jar top clean
9) Using the magnetic lid lifter carry the lid from the 180″ water to the top of the jar, then add sterilized ring and tighten
Then I do clean up while he prepares for the hot bath, which consists of boiling the filled jars for 45 minutes, we had 3 batches of 5 jars (15 total). The last batch was finished just before 11:00 pm. Hubby finds the “jar lifter” a very handy tool when removing the processed jars from their bath.
My husband and I both enjoy working outdoors, producing small amounts of food from our vegetable garden, fruit trees and herb garden. We both enjoy the process of preserving these tasty treasures. While it is no longer necessary for survival, nor can I say we do it to “save” money, there is just something about it that takes us back in time.
Here is Corey’s grandma’s Green’s old stove, it sat outside her home on a back patio away from the house and she spent many summer and fall days preserving their harvest so the family could eat during the winter. This beauty currently resides in our garage laundry room (it took a little bit of clearing so I could share this photo with you). In our new home we are designing a special place to show case her. I think she needs a name – I will have to ponder this….