Yesterday Patty went by the fresh fruit and vegetable stand on her way to work. When she got there they were all out of the seconds on the tomatoes but they had nice new fresh tomatoes by the case of $14 so called me to see if I wanted a whole box as she thought that was a good price. I, of course said yes we used to pay $12 a box at the beginning of the season like this and they were not the nice uniform firsts like these so she got a box and asked to have some saved out to eat fresh. She also got two pints of blue berries at one dollar a pint. Those she put in a bag and hung them in the back of her truck that she parks in the shade. She thought they would keep better there than anyplace else while she worked. At the end of the day when she got home the tomatoes were fine but the blueberries were gone except for a few in the bed of the truck. She had forgotten all about them and so either some animal got into the truck and taken them or they blew away on the drive home, either way no blueberries but a nice big box of tomatoes.
I was going to go shopping with Becca and Jen this morning at 10am but I never wrote it down on my “to do list “and so forgot. About 9 I got the things together to start the tomato sauce. I had gotten the water on to boil and just started to blanch the tomatoes when Becca and Jen got here to go mall walking I was all gun ho to do the sauce so begged off and went on to blanch and skin the tomatoes. I got two big trays done and saved out the ten best tomatoes to eat fresh.
This is tray one. All the skin is removed and now they are ready to be cut in half, deseed and cored and chopped up to make the sauce. Norman always did the blanching job for me. I would start right in deseeding and chopping them up. Before we got started I would chop the onions and garlic and add the spices so when he got home from his walk we would be all ready to get to work. Becca and Jen offered to stay and help me but if I couldn’t have Norman to help I just wanted to do it alone today and remember the fun we had for the last 15 years doing this job together. Besides I only had two trays full to do and we always did 15. I didn’t notice that these tray were much larger than the one I used in TN,
Here is the second tray and one of the onions I had to chop up. I did four of these and 1/3 cup of chopped garlic, some celery, and all the spices on my list. Then got deseeding and coring the tomatoes. Norman always helped doing that too and we always sat opposite each other to work. It was nice to glance up and see him there so today I really was missing having him there to help. We never talked but did listen to music while we worked I still can’t get my echo to work so I had no music today only memories. When I finished that and put them in the pot I found the pot was not large enough to hold them all.
I used this pot to make the sauce this last week and it was only half full with those 6 pounds of tomatoes so had thought sure this would be big enough for one box where I had take out ten to save to eat fresh but it wasn’t so I got another pot and put part in each I didn’t worry about the spices and onions as when it boiled down some I would put them together for the last half hour or so and they could share the spices or I could add more to make it taste right.
These are the two pots I used and I here wasn’t finished chopping the tomatoes at this point so you see I could never have gotten them all into one pot to start with. They were such nice red ripe tomatoes they look more like straw berries than tomatoes. By this time my back was aching a bit and this is where Norman would say “You go sit down and rest your back, I’ll clean up the kitchen”. I just gave a big sigh and sat down for a quick lunch. I had left over speghetti from the refrigerator. It had meat balls in it so was good but I think this new batch is better. I hope the kids like it as well. After lunch I got back to chopping a few mushrooms into the sauce and to cleaning up the kitchen. Have you ever eaten spaghetti without getting some tomato on my shirt? I haven’t and I have never made the sauce without getting tomato everywhere so it took quite a time to clean up the kitchen. Patty has just redone her kitchen so it has lots of nice work area for a small kitchen and I sure wanted to leave it as clean and nice as I found it so I thought of Norman a lot wishing he were here not only to work with me but to clean up after me. All this time the sauce was cooking slowly and by 2:30 I could put both sauces together into the larger pan and let it cook down just a bit more. Shirley called then and that gave me a chance to sit down, put my feet up and let my back get a rest. I told Shirley I made about three quarts of sauce but boy was I wrong. I got 6 1/2 quarts of nice thick sauce. Patty had three quart jars with screw tops but no lids and then three pints and a bunch of the jelly jars. I couldn’t find any others so I filled the quarts and pints, put one and a half quarts in a large pitcher I found and then three half pints so I got lots more than three quarts, Shirley. Those were good meaty tomatoes !
Now I am really done and done in. As Web always said ” Done a good days work,” and before I fall asleep right here I’ll say Have a great day and I’ll get a short nap