Tomato canning is always a long day! I started at 5 a.m. by chopping three pounds of onions and two garlics (all cloves) three cups of celery and measuring out the herbs and spices to make the marinara spaghetti sauce. Then we stopped for breakfast and Norman and I went to the cellar to start the tomatoes. The first step is to blanche the 50 pounds of tomatoes, Norman does that for me and I start right in skinning, deseeding, and chopping the tomatoes.
This is a picture from last year but it is the same every year, every day we can. 50 pounds gets us 7 cooky sheets full of tomatoes to work, when Norman finishes blanching them he sits on the other side of the table and helps peel, deseed and chop. These are all put into the large stew pot where the onions and spices are waiting on the stove and the sauce is cooked as we work. At nine thirty we stopped for a ten minute break for a cup of coffee and biscuit and to put the chicken in the oven with baked potatoes for dinner. I also put the left over vegetables from yesterday into the little dipper so when we were done with the first load of canning, dinner would be already to put on the table. Then it was back to chopping. We take the seeds from the tomatoes and strain out the juice from the seeds and that is where we get our tomato juice for breakfasts. By 11 o’clock we were all done chopping tomatoes, Norman had taken the skins and seeds out to dump and we were ready to put the first load into the pressure canner. Norman had loaded the canner and heated the jars. I got set up ready to load the hot jars. Norman would get me a hot jar, I load it and wipe the rim while Norman is getting a hot lid and ring. I step back and he puts the lid on and tightens it and puts that jar into the canner and gets me another hot jar. This goes for all 7 jars. Then Norman takes over the job of pressure canning. He has never trusted me to use the pressure canner and that is fine with me, I like the help canning and he has more patience when it comes to the timing of things. While Norman was timing the first load I went up stairs to the kitchen to organize dinner.
After dinner and dishes, Norman took the tomatoes out of the canner and put 7 more jars in the canner to heat for the second load. We use the washer and drier to put the jars to cool.
I then label them as to date and content and put them on the shelves in the morning. And we got the next load into the canner. While Norman was timing this lot I went to the garden and got green beans for dinner tomorrow and a dozen tomatoes that we will work with the 50 pounds for tomorrow. While this load cooled I minced onions and garlic for some marinara dipping sauce and then I pureed the tomatoes that did not fit into the stew pot and got 28 ounces of pureed tomatoes, and Norman washed up the dishes and began the cleaning of the cellar kitchen. I cooked the dipping sauce and at 2 we were ready again the take out the jars to cool and get the last load ready to can. This time we got 1 1/2 quarts of spaghetti sauce, 2 pints of marinara dipping sauce and three quarts of tomato juice. I left Norman to clean up the cellar and time the last load and I came up here to write my blog.
By three fifteen we were both ready for a cup of tea and a piece of zucchini bread.
Dishes are done and stacked up ready to repeat this day again tomorrow.
The tomatoes are ready plus the dozen from our garden. I’ll put todays jars on the shelves until we get to packing them up to take to Florida for Christmas.
When the shelves get full like this we put them into boxes and label them for different people. We have four cases already packed and ready to do more.
Well, that is a day in the life of two old farmers. This is how we have fun and why we get up every morning. Find your spot in the sun and make your day complete. Have a great day.