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canning tomatoes

July 11, 2010

So, nearly two weeks ago a friend of mine went with me to purchase 3 flats of tomatoes from a local hydroponic greenhouse that sells flats of tomatoes that range from green to ripe red. We spent the day cutting tomatoes, peppers, onions and other ingredients for making and canning her dad’s famous sauce. We used what equaled to one flat of rip tomatoes for the sauce and as it cooked we made fried green tomatoes and bruschetta for dinner. We spent the night tasting and smelling glorious tomatoes.

This past week, the rest of the tomatoes were ripe and ready to either eat or can. Neither one of us could eat that many tomatoes and had very little time in common to be able to process them together. But I couldn’t let these beauties just turn into compost… 

So Monday before I got started on my massive writing project I used this as my procrastination.

First I washed and de-stemmed all of the tomatoes. Next I placed between 8 and 10 tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds.

I then removed the each tomato and placed it in a bowl of ice water to make the  skinning process easier.

After the skins were removed from each  batch I removed the core of and cut each tomato into halves or quarters (depending on their size).

I placed those halves or quarters into a clean, hot quart jar that had 2 tablespoons of lemon juice waiting for them.

After getting 7-8 tomatoes in each quart jar I topped it off with some of the boiling water that I “par-blanched” them in earlier. I filled each jar so that it had between 1/2 and 1 in. headspace. I wiped each jar mouth clean, placed a lid (that had been sitting in clean boiling water) on the jar mouth and screwed the rim closed tight. Next I placed them in the canner of boiling water.

After they boiled for 40 minutes, I turned the heat off and let them sit in the canner for 5 more minutes. I removed each jar from from the canner and set them on the counter to cool…the sun shining through them pulled the camera back to my hands and eye.

At the end of three hours I had six quarts of canned tomatoes that will be quite useful in soups, sauces, or even stir-fry this winter.

I considered splitting them evenly between my friend and I and it dawned on me that I live 20 minutes from this hydroponic greenhouse…I can get these local tomatoes all year. She moves back to Georgia in August and I’m sure she and her husband could use a taste of home this next year. We may even do some more together- they’re easy enough and can be done in one night of sharing dinner and stories together. That’s part of the beauty of canning with (and even for) friends…it celebrates local foods and friendship at the same time.

R~R~R: I know this is not a typical post for me…but it was something I celebrated doing. It wasn’t convenient but sometimes living locally and with others isn’t always convenient. I don’t want convenience to ever become a root of mine. I will choose to dig into tomatoes before they turn into compost and store them for a friend who I know will treasure each twist of the lid. I look forward to many more canning mornings or evenings with her and other friends this summer. One of my friends just told me she has a bushel of green beans reserved from one of our favorite local farmer’s market…can’t wait for those long nights together!

Canning is a restorative process and enriching root for me…it is good.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 11, 2010 8:04 pm

    Great pictures, fun memories, delicious food. All of our favorite things! Thank you so much, friend. You’re beautiful.

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