Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Tomatoes Tomatoes

I always say things like ‘this is the last time I’ll mention it’ or ‘I’m totally done complaining now’ but, with regard to the tomatoes, I’m not quite there yet.  Almost but not quite.

At the end of it all I have 20 pints and 3 quarts of tomatoes.  I only broke 1 jar and only almost blew the house up once.  That a success, right?  

The thing about it was that I knew that I had too many jars to process in a single pot so I got the other one down and got them both going.  The problem is that I only have one “power” burner.  That’s the best burner.  The stove might as well only have the single burner for all the use the other three get.  So I put the other pot on one of the other burners but somehow it’s smaller or something so that pots always seem to boil over and put out the flame.  It was something less than 20 minutes before I could smell the gas all the way in the living room but I don’t know exactly how long.  I mean who’s going to watch pots for over an hour?  Nothing like trying to air out your kitchen with stiflingly hot and stagnant air from the great outdoors.

Anyway, it got done.  I think it was worth it.  One Straw sells their cases of tomatoes $25.  The cases hold about 40 pounds of tomatoes.  I made dinner one night, put up 26 pints and had a few tomatoes left over for salad.  Each pint is like a small can of tomatoes which is what I use for making a quick sauce of pasta or pizza.  That’s less than $1 per “can” for local organic tomatoes.  Sure, they made me want to shoot myself but I saved a couple of bucks and learned a few things along the way.

I pretty much have my whole process down to a science.  Right after dinner I fill the pots and set them on the stove and load my jars into the dishwasher.  Then I go up and put the baby to bed.  When I come back down for Chase I turn the, now boiling, pots down to simmer and go do bedtime with her.  By the time everyone is asleep the jars are clean, hot and ready for packing.  Then all I have to do is crank the heat back up under the pots and set the jars in to process.

Tomorrow… jalapeno jelly and then I’m done for a while.  I have all kinds of other crap to move onto.  I really wanted to make Chase a new dress to wear to school next week but I tweaked my neck and I’m afraid that sitting at the machine will only aggravate it.  Maybe I’ll just have to vacuum?  That doesn’t sound like any fun at all.

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