Tag Archives: canning season

Tomato Fever

IMG_20140913_162610Canning season is in full flush. I have 12 quarts and 33 pints of peaches in the cupboard. I have 12 pints of salsa (14 total including the two that we’re just eating) and 7 quarts of plain tomato sauce done. (Plus about 4 quarts in the freezer)

IMG_20140919_141920I still have 2.5 boxes of tomatoes left and there are so many things I want to do with them it’s a little bit paralyzing. Having so much choice is a lucky situation to be in. After a week of being so broke I woke up in a money panic every morning I find myself mentally knocking on wood every few hours that payday came and I was able to pay my phone bill, buy 150lbs of tomatoes, and beer. Those two boxes of tomatoes are only 50lbs of the total. I had to make three trips to the farm to get my tomatoes home.

IMG_20140915_174253Side note: please don’t buy meat in big disrespectful bags like this. It looks like trash and that was once an animal, a living breathing being. I understand eating meat is the norm for many people including my own son and husband – but do it respectfully or don’t do it at all.  It’s much better to eat no meat than to buy it like this.

IMG_20140920_205501I dislike most salsa recipes in the canning books so I’m working on my own recipe now. It’s going to take a couple of years to perfect, I’m sure, but this first batch is pretty damn good. No bell peppers or cucumbers or carrots in my salsa, please! This batch is made with: tomatoes, onions, pickled jalapenos (because I need to use mine up, otherwise it would just be fresh ones), Mexican oregano, garlic, a ton of fresh cilantro, and some lime juice and salt.

IMG_20140920_213924Night canning results in me staying up several hours afterwards to wind back down. Last night I was up way too late and ended up falling asleep at my desk. I need to knock this off. I feel like a wreck today as a result. I have two and a half boxes of tomatoes left and here are the things I’m thinking of doing with them:

Summer vegetable soup to freeze (with corn, green beans, new potatoes, zucchini, and basil)

Ratatouille to freeze – I only have a few jars of it and it’s such a great thing to pull out of the freezer in cold(ish)* weather and serve over polenta.

Bruschetta topping – I’ve never canned this but I’m definitely going to try a recipe I have for this.

Black bean soup to freeze – with corn, lots of tomato, summer squash, cilantro, pickled jalapenos, and lime juice.

I think I better get my ass dressed if I hope to get anything at all done with those toms today. Which should I do first? Bruschetta topping, probably. Followed by the ratatouille.

I miss writing and I need to get more things listed in my Etsy shop but tomato canning season is something I look forward to all year and I don’t feel right if I haven’t put a lot of good stuff in the pantry and freezer. I’m such a damn squirrel.

Around the Farmhouse: A Not So Leisurely Sunday

I have my mother to thank for all these tomatoes.  She has been making sure they get water frequently resulting in the best tomato crop my garden has had in years.  It’s so exciting.  In the area it’s been known to be a mild/cool summer with heat spells only showing up the late in August and I know some people are not having great tomato harvests like we are – so I think they must be in a great spot and I also think my mother has some magic.  We grew about 12 plants.  I think I should go count them to be sure and for the record next year.  The varieties we’re growing whose names I know are: Black Krim, Striped German, Sungold (2), Jaune Flamme (2), Yellow Brandywine, and a few others whose names I can’t remember and will be revealed when we rip out the plants and gather the plastic plant tags.  I think there is a Pineapple variety and possibly a Japanese Trifele.

My mom also planted some snow peas around our flimsy garden fence and we’ve been getting quite a good crop of them.   We have some lush lettuce and some beets that look like they might be getting big.  We harvested and dried some kale and have been getting a slow but steady stream of cucumbers and zucchinis.  Again- why does everyone have a “problem” with prolific zucchinis and I just have a trickle?

One of my favorite things to eat this summer has been a simple Greek-inspired salad.  Just cucumbers, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, feta cheese and vinaigrette.  The Sungold tomatoes are unbelievably good in this and I could eat this for every meal.  I would do it except for the fact that there’s a lot of other produce to use up too.

45 quarts of dill pickles.  About 17 half pint jars of blackberry jam.  15 half pints of strawberry jam.  11 quarts of marinara sauce.  22 quarts of diced tomatoes.  4 pints of tomatillo salsa (my mom did that one on her own).  5 half pints of peach chutney.  5 pints of peaches in light syrup.  That’s what’s been going on in my kitchen this past few weeks.  I’m hoping to pick up some damson plums tomorrow to make jam with.  A close friend has some Italian prune plums and I’m wondering what I could make with those.  She has a lot of them.  I do like prunes and I’d be interested in drying a few but what else are they good for?

Any ideas?  Please share.  Would they make a good savory plum sauce?  Do they make a good jam?  How about pickled plums?  (I’ve never had those).

Today we got our first fall rain.  It’s lovely.  It means I need to go pick as many of the tomatoes that might be ripe out in the garden that I can because they’ll start splitting.  Today I will be slow roasting a bunch of tomatoes and then freeze them.  I also got 10 ears of corn for $3 at Harvest Fresh and will be making a spicy corn chowder with them.  If the corn is good I will go and get more corn and make some chowder to freeze.

I also have pesto to make.  As I’m writing this all out I suddenly feel serious pressure to finish my paid job so I can jump into the kitchen and get cracking on all those food projects.  Food has a habit of going bad when left around.  I wasn’t even going to make pesto but my friend Laurie and my mom talked me into it.  I still have 10 batches in the freezer.  Still, in case you didn’t know it- people love pesto and that makes pesto a great bribe or a much appreciated thank you to friends and family.  Pesto in winter is one of life’s greatest indulgences.  Mine, which my close friend Chelsea and I perfected together, is one of the best recipes out there.  (According to Laurie and my mom) (I like it a lot too)  So I bought supplies to make more and there are four beautiful bunches of fresh basic waiting for me to process them.  I’m tired.  Is it beer-O-clock yet?

You can make corn chowder too-here’s my recipe.

If you don’t know how to slow roast tomatoes and you want to try it you can follow my instructions for making slow oven roasted tomatoes.

This pesto recipe is fantastic.  Making it always reminds me of Chelsea.