Sunday, August 19, 2012

When I Canned Tomatoes and Life

Gypsy Slow Down


I'll be the sun, you be the shining. You be the clock, I'll be the timing. While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind. While I was feeling so upset, I thought the sun never shine. Then I found forever. Hey! hey! love! We've been best friends forever darling. That's' what's up!  

There were many things I wanted to write about these past few weeks, like the apple tart I was going to make to celebrate Julia Child and her would be 100th birthday on Wednesday. The happy project I've been working on this summer and the book I'm reading that is giving me a great perspective on life. The dried apples we made that I snacked on mixed with sunflower seeds and ate all in one day at work (they were so good). The time we went and saw Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at the old fashioned Carolina Theater and ate really good Greek food before hand. The way summer is winding down and every time I see anything Christmas in a move I get excited like, it's going to be here before you know it.

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But, since these last few weeks my mind has been busy and my heart has been busy and there hasn't been time in between work, I'll just write about when I canned all the tomatoes in our garden, something I've been wanting to do for a while. Cathy showed me how and we canned four jars of my tomatoes on a Wednesday. I borrowed her canner to do the rest yesterday, since we already have another crop from the garden. I was surprised at how easy it was. If she hadn't shown me how I would have been really intimated  But there was no need to be, because it's doable and you don't have to live on a farm or wear an apron all the time or feel like Betty Crocker. Here's what I did (I recommend this site for great info on canning, what you should can and other important stuff).

 So first I gathered my supplies; lots of big pots, jars and lids, water bath canner, canning tongs, tomatoes and garnishes.

 I boiled my lids and rims. Then I washed my jars in hot soapy water.

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Then I boiled some of the tomatoes for a couple minutes, to loosen the skins. After that I dumped them into a pot full of ice water and the skins just pop off. I used mostly romas, but also some regular and a few golden tomatoes because I think they look pretty in the jar.

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I sliced some of my tomatoes but left the romas mostly whole. I used a few small jelly jars along with my bigger ones and filled them with tomatoes, onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and basil, an idea I got from Cathy. I thought that might be a nice gift, sort of a one person tomato soup starter. I did the same in some of my bigger jars too for easy sauce in the winter.

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Once I put the tomatoes into the jars I squished them in deep to get out the air and filled the jars just to below the top rim. Then I wiped down the rims really good because this can keep the lids from being airtight if there is leftover tomato on the edges. I screwed on the lids as tight as I could. 

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For my size jars I put them in the canner with the water boiling and the water covering the jars and the lid on, for 35 minutes. Using the canning tongs, I lifted them out of the canner and set them in the sink to cool. And that's it. You'll know they are properly canned if the lids are flat on top.

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I gave a jar to Mary when she and Andrew came over to have their engagement photos taken on our property, for their first house together when they get married. 

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I was so happy that the project was a success. On a cold winters day it will be nice to have a sweet taste of the warm summer sun.

Bon Appetit!

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