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Put ‘Em Up!!

September 29, 2011

I have great aspirations to eventually do a giant canning session, preserving enough food to last a good chunk of time over the winter months.

I think big.

I’m a little bummed we couldn’t do more this year, but I suppose starting out small has its merits, right? Learning and all that?

Last weekend we ‘put up’ our tomatoes. We started with our 9 lbs of romas, plucked fresh from our garden.

I set the canner to boil right away, with the empty mason jars inside, knowing it would take forever for it to boil. It took that long plus 10 minutes 🙂

Thanks Mom and Dad for the loan of the canning equipment. I'll hold onto it for you until you need it 🙂

In the meantime, we set ourselves up to get the tomatoes ready. The recipe calls for blanching them first to loosen the skins. Six at a time, I plopped them into the water for 30-60 seconds…(this pic isn’t great. It’s not easy capturing something through steam)

….then immediately scooped them into an ice bath to cool them down.

While I moved on to blanching the next batch, A proceeded to remove the cores and skins of the tomatoes.

Some of them weren’t so easy to keep intact, but he did a fabulous job, even though he ended up with pruny hands 🙂

We lined up the now-sterlized jars, added two tablespoons of lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt to each, and stuffed them full of tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch free at the top.

Into the canner they went again, this time chock full of tomato goodness, to boil (once it came to a boil again) for 85 minutes.

I don’t have a picture of the end result, but imagine this jar with an inch and a half of liquid at the bottom (the tomatoes rose during processing) times three and voila! Tomatoes that will make at least three meals over the next few months. I made A promise we wouldn’t use them up in the near future. I want to see if they’ll actually keep and be able to say things to people like:

Me: “You’ll love this sauce! The tomatoes are from our garden”

People: “You’re garden? It’s March!”

Me: “I know, but we grew them last summer and put ’em up in September”

People: “oooooohhhhh”

That’s exactly how it’ll go 🙂

It was a really fun experience and I really hope that we’re able to do it on a larger scale next year!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2011 11:49 am

    Congratulations on joining the canning “community”! Doesn’t it feel great to see those jars of freshly canned foods lining your counter? I’m sure you will be canning up a storm before long!

  2. Amy permalink
    October 4, 2011 2:42 pm

    Great job on your tomatoes! I love, love, love canning. I helped my mom and grandmother can when I was growing up, but I only canned by myself for the first time this year. It was hard work but VERY rewarding…and will be especially nice to make a nice pot of warm vegetable beef soup this winter! Like you, I want to prepare to do even more next year…I think this year was a lot of trial and error for me.

    • October 4, 2011 2:53 pm

      The entire gardening experience was a trial and error for me as well! We just sort of let it be and I’ve learned what worked and what didn’t from that.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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