Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tomatoes have been Preserved

I spent a delightful day at the house of a favorite friend's mother-in-law. We canned there from 8am to 6:30pm today. She's got two incredibly sweet little girls who are a joy to be around and a testament to what good parenting accomplishes. Out of the 200 lbs. of tomatoes I brought, based on an estimate of what it would take to meet what we were hoping for, we actually had 50 pounds left over.

Therefore, we now know that 150 lbs. of Roma tomatoes make...
8 quart + 7 pints + 20 oz. of sauce
44 quarts of diced tomatoes

We were very proud. For most of the day we had 6 burners, including 2 canners going. That's a lot of tomatoes.

I'll use the last 50 lbs. to make another 1 1/2 qts. or so of sauce and then marinara (probably another 11 quarts) in the next c0uple of days. Q was also kind enough to pick up 10 pounds of pickling cukes today, so I'll also have those to do. That will leave only 49 qts. peaches, 14 qts. pears, and 14 qts. apple sauce on my dream canning list for this season. I also want to freeze a whole bunch (a gallon?) of diced green pepper, since they're so cheap this time of year. I want to also get some quick meals (lasagna, 3 Bean Casserole, chili) and some lunch food (Cornish pasties)
in the freezer soon. The cabbage will also be maturing in the next couple of months so I want to learn how to make a vat of sauerkraut and put some cabbage burger filling (cooked ground beef, onions, cabbage) into the freezer for more fast meals. I wish schools still followed a proper agricultural schedule. As it is, I always have to go back to teaching just when the main preservation season is in full swing. It's cruel.

We went roaming some thrift stores the other day and came away with the first 10 jars for Mom's collection for next year's boutique jam and jelly - 1 pint, 6 half pints, and 3 quarters. Yay!
I didn't expect to find anything during canning season itself.
I love jars. I love them empty, replete with possibilities and imaginations of what they have held. I love them full; small, dense packages of summer sunshine that warm winter days. I love the link they give to the past, knowing that I'm using many of the same jars that my grandmother used, possibly even when I was a small child. I love the link to the future - my friend showing her 2-year-old up to see the finished jars and talking about this winter's delights after the little girl eagerly helped us peel the tomatoes.

One of the pumpkins is actually getting some color!

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