Monday, July 16, 2012

Canning tomatoes

Canning merges several of my loves.  My plant geek, garden loving fool gets very excited to see our work result in delicious food.  My foodie/cooking fanatic side loves the challenge of finding new recipes and perfecting the process.  Our canning and preserving efforts are a family affair with me learning at the elbow of my mom.  And, I know that by gardening, canning and learning from my mom, I am honoring a long legacy of women in my family who have participated in these same activities.

I will forever savor hearing the "POP" of a jar sealing as it rests on the counter, fresh from the canner.  And, for as long as I can remember, my mom and I count them together as they sound off during the sealing process.

This season has been productive so far.  We have several quarts and pints of pasta and pizza sauces and a spicy tomato sauce that is something new for us this year.

We have likely reached the last of our big batches of tomatoes for the season.  The tomato plants are looking really sad with the heat and lack of rain.  I am holding out hope that we will get some moisture and they will rally for a late summer crop.

My more realistic thought is that I will start to scout the local farmer's markets for some tomatoes. At Saturday morning's market, there were a couple of vendors with canning specials on tomatoes, so I will have to do some more investigating.

One of the fun things about canning is that it turns your kitchen upside down.  I would give my kitchen high marks for cleanliness, but the clutter is laughable.  There is never enough counter space and you have to have enough supplies on hand which means jars, lids, rings, bowls, pots, and other canning tools everywhere.  The process is like musical chairs - moving and stacking, moving and stacking.  Last week I went through all of the supplies and tried to consolidate.  Now, I have neatly organized piles and stacks.

Still, I love this season.  One of my favorite ways to relax is to peal a pile of tomatoes and work them into a counter full of beautifully preserved food.

No comments: