Monday, October 18, 2010

On Tomatoes

We currently have three paper grocery bags full of tomatoes on our counter. They are heavy...about 10 pounds each. They are beautiful and delicious and I have no idea what I'm going to do with thirty pounds of them.
My mother recently sent me the Ball Blue Book, a guide to canning and preserving absolutely anything. Wondering how to process rutabagas? Or how to make green grape marmalade? This book tells all. Apparently, you can even can chicken, seafood, chili, and a lot of other meat-based foods. But one of the trickiest items to can, it turns out, is tomatoes.

I recently made up my own tomato-canning recipe which, unbeknownst to me, cut out a lot of the botulism-killing steps. Like boiling them in the jar for 45 minutes (I think I boiled them for about five...oops). Don't be scared, though, dear friends and readers. I froze those puppies rather than let them sit and develop disease on my shelves. But it seems that, with even three years on the farm, I haven't learned everything.

So here's my tomato-canning mantra. As I sterilize my jars and peel my tomato skins, I will do so carefully. My cook times will be precise. I will be neat. I will be mindful. And when I open a jar in the deep, deep winter and hear that sacred "pop," I will thank the canning gods, the Ball Blue Book, and my mom.


Lindsey Gosma Donhauser said...

Here's another great way to use up those tomatoes. I like to do have chili powder and half chipotle chili, you can experiment with any chili spice, though. I add twice the beans (usually a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans) I also do not roast my onions, since I prefer to caramelize them from raw in step 3. We freeze this in quart ziplocs (good for 3 months) and then take it camping. Delish around a campfire with corn tortillas!

Katie Cappello said...

Hey thanks! Now I have a craving to go camping.

Lindsey Gosma Donhauser said...

Camp Verde is lovely this time of year :)

Katie Cappello said...

Beautiful pics, my friend. That's one thing the Delta lacks...great places to camp.

Donna Cappello said...

Ahh, my bohemian daughter. Canning tomatoes is indeed a lesson in patience. Now go forth and process those "love apples"!