8.19.2009

Visions of tomatoes

Tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. So many tomatoes I couldn't eat them all-- even with my tomato sandwich addiction. BigBoy is not such a fan of tomatoes, except for the orange cherry "sun sugar" variety. Even that is hit or miss. I think he likes the concept of eating them more than actually eating them in reality. Sassy will grab them throughout the day to pop a quick snack. Sometimes she'll go total stealth mode and pluck a whole Roma tomato from the bowl, eating it apple style. I'll even object from time to time to make her think she's all sneaky and grabbing the forbidden fruit. Oooooh, okay fine, you can have another tomato. BigDaddy is in volleyball mode. Tomatoes? we have tomatoes? maybe I can use a new drill tomorrow for practice... oh sorry, were you talking to me about tomatoes?

This canning business sounds so charming, really it does. and the thought of beautiful jars of organic tomato sauce, tomato puree and general tomato things lining my pantry shelves is intoxicating. But it scares me. I'm totally intimidated. The kettle (big pot,) the jar sealing "pop." the tongs, the specific amounts of ingredients. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

But I had to do something. I couldn't let some 40 lbs of organic tomatoes just rot. Marinara sauce. I can do marinara sauce. we use a lot of sauce. It's easy. I've done sauces before. And the best part? I can just FREEZE it! No need to can! Hooray! But apparently it's best if I remove all the skins. seriously? I needed to quick boil the pounds and pounds of tomatoes, and cool them in ice bath/cold water. Peel them. cut the core. de-seed them and then puree them. and I can strain over a bowl and collect the juice. THEN I'm in good shape to start my marinara sauce. But this first part took the better part of two hours- when Sassy was napping and BB was glued to wii/tv. Add time for prepping and clean up. This is an all-day thing people. Who in the world has time to do this and be the best mama that ever lived to their children?

I've decided this whole "happy homemaker" thing isn't what it's cracked up to be. I'm thinking housewives of days long gone totally neglected their kids, or had lots of family to pawn their offspring off to, or didn't attempt anything until they were all in school. or faked it.

So I quick boiled my tomatoes with scored booties. peeled them, squished them and pureed them. I even strained all the nutritious juice from their bowels. I didn't get to all the tomatoes, I was pretty tomatoed out by this point. The fruits of my labor? Three quart size bags of halved Roma tomatoes, three large yogurt containers of puree, and about a gallon of juice. I figure I can do my day o' sauce later this week.

As for the very loved (not by me) canning pot, rack, and 3 dozen jars. I'll use them. really. After BB starts Kindergarten next week. or maybe I'll whip up some lovely Christmas gifts using the mason jars. or create an art installation... Canning- Don't try this at home.

3 comments:

Deb Thaxton said...

-->We have spaced out our tomato production in recent years. However, when we had all of those tomatoes at once, we did the same thing. Made sauce to can, stewed them to can and also took a bunch of other ingredients from the garden to make V8 juice. If you have peppers, you can make up a meat/tomato mix to stuff them and freeze them. I just ate a stuffed pepper from last summer for lunch and it was delicious. Good luck! Oh, you can also make salsa to can too.

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Madgew said...

What about donating them to a homeless shelter or selling them to a local restaurant or two or three?

Lisa Spector said...

Deb- salsa! yum. I'm totally going to can, I just want to be able to concentrate- not easy with BB around. The peppers sound yummy, but our pepper plants aren't too happy. We got ONE little one. I'm still hopeful since I see a few little guys coming out.

Madge- Great idea, but the whole point of planting them was to preserve for winter. We don't get yummy produce year round like in CA. ;) I just needed to get my booty moving to take care of business. I need a canning mentor.

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