|Sauce just starting and almost ready|
Gradually, I am working my way through the tomatoey abundance. This wasn't the best year, but it wasn't the worst year by any means. I am busily canning up tomatoes, and tomato juice, and tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce.
This year produced some of the biggest tomatoes ever (see previous post about Big Rainbow and Salads). I have had lots of nice uniform ripe tomatoes with very little sickness. Some of them scorched in the sun after the grasshoppers and blister beetles ate too much of the foliage away, but that has been it for problems. Not too many hornworms, no blossom end rot, and no blight; a good year.
|Grasshopper gnawed tomatoes|
I have started bringing the tomatoes to the house to ripen after they start to turn pink. I got tired of finding grasshoppers gnawing on them. Don't know why I never caught on to this before.
I have discovered the joy of balsamic vinegar in my spaghetti sauce. For years I have tried to match my childhood memories of the spaghetti sauce from “The Villa Restaurant” in Little Rock. I looked at lots of recipes and couldn't figure out what was missing. Now balsamic may not be their additive, but it matches the taste I remember and I love it.
|Finished canned sauce|
Another aberration of mine is refusal to peel the tomatoes. I figure it makes the difference between whether I get to can the stuff or not. If I have to peel all those tomatoes, probably not. The peel is healthy, we can eat it. If no one else likes it, too bad, I do, and will eat it myself.
Right now there are several pots simmering away on the stove. When the water is boiling I will fill my jars and put them in to process. The Ball Canning Guide (you can find it in Wmart next to the canning supplies) gives a really clear how-to if you want to try it and are unsure. Better yet, ask someone you know who cans to let you help so you can see how it is done. That community thing.
Canning tomatoes isn't scary or dangerous and is very satisfying. Once you get canning jars it is pretty cost effective. It is easy to find free or cheap jars; ask around, lots of people get rid of them. Canning will heat up your kitchen and it does take up some space. But, when you are done you have beautiful, glowing jewel-like jars of tomatoes on your shelves. Just another step in doing it for ourselves.