Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Canning Tomatoes and WIAW

On Saturday morning I decided to get up early and get to the farm by 7 to pick a bunch of tomatoes for canning. It has been over 105 degrees here lately so I had to get there right when they opened. Nathan was awesome and kept the kids with him at home. It's much easier and faster to pick tomatoes without an extra 20lb baby on your back and a toddler running around! Maybe by next year I will be able to pick tomatoes from my own garden! (I say this every year)

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 impatiently to hear all the jars "pop" or seal... SUCCESS!

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.

So what did I learn? Don't be prideful and take the dang wheel barrow! Get some good house shoes! And don't try to can in the middle of the afternoon on one of the hottest days of the year in Las Vegas! Oh yes, and if I do decide to still do all of those things, do not do them all in the same day!

Do you have any tips to make your canning experience any easier?

1 comment:

  1. Good job, you learn from your mistakes by doing. There is nothing prettier and satisfying that looking in your cupboard and seeing all those jars. Love, Grandma