At the farm I bring my reusable bags to fill up with tomatoes and walk through the orchard. I pass by the wheel barrows thinking "I can just carry them, it wont be that heavy".... 1st mistake. I fill both my bags with tomatoes... 2nd mistake... the tomatoes on the bottom are now being squished and the juices are getting all over my clothes. Now I must walk the 1/2 a mile back to the check out stand carrying about 35lbs of tomatoes (see 1st mistake). I pay, and walk to the truck.
Finally home, I relax for a few minutes (haha, not really, the kids haven't had breakfast). I make them breakfast, then clean the kitchen ( I have to have a clean workplace). I rinse off one full bag of tomatoes and set them to dry.
As you can see I also prepared all of the items needed for peeling, cooking, and canning my tomatoes. This day I was only able to get through one bag (about half of the tomatoes). I decided I would just do canned stewed tomatoes with this batch. I put my canning jars in the dishwasher and turned it on. When they were almost done I turned the heat on the large canning pot. (It takes about 45 minutes for this thing to come up to a boil so I start it early without my jars) While that is happening I turn the heat on another large pot of water for blanching the tomatoes for peeling. Since this post will be long enough, I wont go into detail on how to do this, I'll just give you this link to a great tutorial on how to peel and deseed your tomatoes.
After peeling and deseeding the tomatoes, I put them in a pot, add the reserved juice, and add water (if needed) to cover them. Then I put them on the stove to simmer for about 10 minutes.( Now I have almost all my burners going on my stove and it is the middle of the afternoon. 3rd mistake. It's 82 degrees in my house with the ac running non-stop) Then they are ready to can. I put a small pot on to boil, and drop a few canning lids in for 5 minutes. I take my hot jars out of the dishwasher, fill them to 1/2 full with the tomatoes, then put a lid and ring on and tighten. I set it aside and do another,... until I am out of tomatoes. By now my canning water is about to start boiling, so I put my full jars in the basket and lower them. I bring them to boil and put my lid on the pot. I boil for about 35-40 minutes for my altitude. Now I can take them out with my jar lifter and set them on a towel. At this point I wait
The other half of the tomatoes I waited until Tuesday to do. Because by then, I had to make dinner. Why did it take all day you might ask? Well because every 5 minutes of this process I had to stop and help a toddler or nurse a baby. Fun right? Yes, and yet there was still one more mistake I made... I was barefoot on the tile floor all day. Needless to say, the next morning I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a bus. A word of advice, if you are not accustom to working out everyday, do not do what I have just told you I did in one day.
At least dinner was fairly easy, as I made my Super Easy Chicken Fajitas! And I will include a picture, for WIAW!... do you like how I threw that in there? I know. Graceful.
If you are wondering what I did with the other half of the tomatoes, I used them for spaghetti sauce that I also canned. I did the same process of peeling and deseeding, and then added sauteed veggies, seasonings, and a couple cans of tomato paste. I somewhat followed this Tangy Spaghetti Sauce recipe, but I did change it up a bit.(If you are really interested in my recipe, just let me know and I will write another post for it.) I let that cook down for a couple hours and canned as I did the tomatoes.
Do you have any tips to make your canning experience any easier?