A public "Thank you!" to the kind comments I have received lately. I appreciate them. I like to share my successes, failures, mistakes and the like, as I create, learn and generally bumble through things and my life. My experiences may be my own, yet forewarned is not a bad thing, yes?
It seems I should take a bit of rest after gutting the house of carpet, yes? Oh no... Nature is not allowing it. Various things are maturing in the garden and demanding attention, like, canning and dehydrating. On top of that, I had ordered a bushel of canning tomatoes, "just in case" our tomato plants do not produce enough for what I want to can. They will not, of course. Tomatoes have not been my greatest success, having one of the shortest growing seasons in the U.S. The first photo is three-quarters of the bushel, chopped and ready to be processed. The green ancient Tupperware colander has a few of our tomato plant offerings...
Yesterday and today, I have been chopping and cooking the tomatoes. So far, 12 pints of "sloppy joe sauce" for the kids, 15 pints of pizza sauce for ourselves and... no clue as to how many quarts of plain tomato sauce I will end up with at this moment. It is still "reducing" on the stove. I am very glad for the giant pot I bought decades ago. The chopped tomatoes came to the top for this last round! It is a great thing it is Saturday night sci-fi/fright night on a local TV channel, too. I can watch old boogie-movies, knit and attend to the canner. This second photo is of the sloppy joe sauce, (recipe from somewhere online...), showing the veggies getting cooked soft enough to run my stick-blender. No, I did not peel or de-seed the tomatoes. Canning and paste tomatoes have little in the way of seeds. Pureeing the tomatoes makes a lovely pulp. the skins have some sort of vitamins and taste, yes? Or I am lazy? No matter, the sauce came out very nice.
The Pizza Sauce is about 12 or 13 pounds of chopped tomatoes, 2 each minced red and green bell peppers, about 1/2 head of minced fresh garlic, 2 tbsp. Italian herb blend, 2 tbsp. dried oregano leaves, 2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. crush red pepper. I cooked it soft, blended, then cooked until it was the "right" thickness I prefer. When I canned it, I added 1/4 tsp. of citric acid to each pint jar. (I did the same to the sloppy joe sauce). I want to be sure the acidity is correct, being canned in a water-bath. All gleaned from the Ball Blue Book, btw. See how lovely it is, even though I did not peel the tomatoes? That extra step is a heck of a mess, anyway. Okay... My "Sauce Master" rusted. It should of not of rusted. I washed and dried it faithfully. Cheap metal, I guess. The food mill I picked up was teeny. There is no way I was going to put that much sauce through that thing. I would take hours.
The tomato sauce will have salt and citric acid added to the jars before filling and processing. I will be able to make them into whatever flavor I want when using if I leave them "plain". It makes them more useful, yes?
Before I got the tomatoes, I had processed the last of our strawberries into jam. We got 20 pints of jam from our strawberry plants this year! We also had enough for a few desserts.
Well... Time to feed Sally and stir the giant pot of to-be tomato sauce. Next canning adventures will be beets, turnips and cabbage. Yes!, you can can cabbage! Cool!