When you are given such a wonderful gift, there’s nothing to do but shift into high gear! We did that! We turned these flats full of yummy goodness into these delights:
Canning tomatoes is not particularly hard work. It’s sorta messy but that’s what soap and water is for. We just grabbed cleaning rags and scouring powder and the stove looked good as ever when we finished!
We cut out the stem portion and made a slice in the bottom of each tomato. They were dipped into boiling water until the skin split. As they were held under cold water that skin peeled off easily! The skinned tomatoes went into a large heavy kettle to simmer until there was foam at the top. That was skimmed off and discarded. We used a potato masher to crush every tomato. We were using juicy tomatoes and Romas, which are more firm and not as juicy, so we crushed the whole lot of them.
There was a system that worked well for us: While we worked to cut and skin these babies, the oven was working full time. We had a jelly roll pan with water, each pan holding 6 jars filled with an inch or so of water. These, along with the canning lids, hung out in the oven as we worked.
When it came time to fill the jars, The Normanator skillfully put dipper after dipper into the each jar. As soon as it was full, I was in charge of adding the salt, topping it off with the lid and securing the ring. Each jar took its place on a towel on the kitchen table as we listened for the “CLICK!” of the lid, making the sound that it had sealed.
There was only one jar that did not seal. It was morphed into a lovely spaghetti sauce when I poured it into a heavy skillet, added lots of oregano, basil, pepper, and a “blub” of red wine.
SIDEBAR: No vino? You can use 1/2 cup of any ole vinegar + 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar. Taste test as you go. *The sugar diminishes the too-tomatoey flavor of the sauce. **That’s the purpose of the wine. END SIDEBAR
Our benefactor told us they have put up over 100 quarts of tomatoes and salsa for the winter! We are going to have some major good eats at our house this winter, thanks to the Tomato Fairy! I have a feeling there will be a chili feed or two on the social calendar!
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