Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tomatoes Everywhere!

This winter's supply cookin' up!
Tonight's Tomato Bounty
We normally harvest in the evenings and this is a small sampling of tonight's harvest from our garden. I'll bet I have already given away about 8 bushels of tomatoes and at least 3-4 bushels of Zucchini and Squash.  Thank goodness the zukes and squash are slowing down (getting too hot in this Texas heat).

But the tomatoes are still coming off gangbusters.

This is my big stainless mixing bowl (on the left) and as you can see it is overflowing with rich, ripe goodness.  There were more cherry tomatoes, but I couldn't resist and ate a bunch of them after washing.  

And for the rest that had a few spots, were super ripe or were misshapen, into the pot they went and they are cooking away now.  Winter is always good at our house because I have lots of summer veg put up.  But we need 'super fan' in the kitchen during canning season.  All the burners going it gets hotter than a firecracker in there!

Don't worry about peeling your tomatoes. 

Get the bad spots out, peel off any funky peel or areas of the tomato, slice up and put in a heavy bottom stock pot.  Cook until they are reduced by at least half.  Run through a wire mesh sieve and any seeds and skins will be retained. 

I usually sieve into the giant Tupperware bowl that I've had since the early 1970's and then put it all back into the pot and cook about another 15-20 minutes. 

Have your hot sterilized jars and seals ready and ladle into prepared jars.  I add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 Tbs lemon juice to the top of  a pint jar (leaving 1/2" headspace), (or 1 + 1);  wipe the rims and seal.  Set on a tea towel on the counter and wait for them to seal.  You will hear them popping.  Double check after 24 hours to make sure they all sealed.  If you have one that didn't seal, stick it in the fridge and use it within a few days.  Once completely cooled, I remove the rings and store.  I never store my canned jars with the rings on because sometimes they get so stuck on you can't get them off later.  At least that's the way I learned.  DO NOT RETIGHTEN the rings once you tighten them.  There will be some contraction usually after they seal.

If you are a novice to canning and preserving, I can strongly recommend the 'bible' of canning:  Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, available at most book retailers, Wal-Mart,, Target and places like that.

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