August 9, 2017

Final tally: 11 quarts, 17 pints. Five quarts, two pint of juice. Four pints roasted tomato garlic sauce. Plain sauce coming today.

Note: This was written last night, as I was processing the last of the tomatoes through the water bath. I finished up about 10:30 p.m., but for the sauce I’ll make today from skins and cores. And I didn’t download the pix until today.

I commenced canning tomatoes somewhere around 11 a.m. today. It is 10:22 p.m., and I’m not done.

But I’m close.

So far, in the “done” column, I have 17 pints and 8 quarts of tomatoes, cooling on a bath towel on my counter. In the water bath I have seven more quart of tomatoes, because I ran out of pint jars. Still to process, I have six quarts and two pints of tomato juice, and four pints of roasted cherry tomato garlic sauce.

We will have no scurvy up in here this winter, I am here to tell you. And we will have all the spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes and vegetable beef soup and chili we want, because, you know what? We’ve damn-sho got home-canned tomatoes with which to make them all.

I feel pretty satisfied. Tired as all hell, but satisfied. I’d feel more satisfied if I could get this damn canner to boil more quickly and I could process this batch and the one waiting behind it. One of these days, I will have a REAL stove. One on which I can set TWO water bath canners, if I am so inclined. One which will put out some real heat.

I contemplated making tomato relish, and going ahead and making Vivian Howard’s stewed tomatoes and canning some of those, but wound up just canning straight tomatoes and juice, because I can go from that to anything I want to make and you really can’t tell but what I made it from fresh tomatoes. Because the taste of home-canned tomatoes is just so far past the quality of the best San Marzanos you can buy for an outrageous price at the specialty market, it’s not even funny.

Child A opined, on a trip through the kitchen, that it looked like a murder had been committed. I can understand that conclusion. It’s pretty much impossible to can tomatoes without getting them all over the floor, not to mention the stovetop and the counter. I have at least gotten the kitchen in some semblance of order, but I’m not going to great lengths tonight because? Tomorrow I am canning kraut, and hopefully making fig jam. No point in getting carried away cleaning the kitchen if I’m going to mess it up again tomorrow morning.

The kraut has been fermenting away in the dining room, quietly sitting there in its three-gallon bucket, minding its own business, since June 1. It ought to be about right. I’m inclined not to bother it, as it’s been sitting there quietly, giving no trouble, but it should be sour enough to stop the fermentation. Hope I’m as fortunate as I was last year, when the kraut, my maiden voyage at same, was primo. Daddy always used to go by “the signs” in the Farmer’s Almanac and would only make kraut on a specific day when “the signs” were right. I make it when I have cabbage and time to do it. Worked last year. Hope it does this year.

But I won’t be canning kraut until I make a pilgrimage to WalMart and get some more pint jars. I don’t like to can kraut in quarts, though Mama always did; I find pints work better for our small family’s purposes. And if I need more, well, I can always open two. I guess I ran through all my pint jars making pickles and blackberry jam. The fig jam, if my figs show up, will have to go in half-pints, as I have plenty of them left.

I am, though, about to run out of shelf space in the storage room.

If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have any extra jars, or shelves, bring ’em on. And any of y’all for whom I’ve canned anything — I want my empty jars back!





One Response to “To-by-God-matoes!”

  1. Cindy A Says:

    Consider an induction hob until you can get a better stove. Also, sent you a text re. a trip to Nashville.

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