Monday, September 8, 2014

The Tomato of my Eye

This is what I did on Saturday:  I bought $22 worth of tomatoes, onions, and peppers.  And then I spent five hours in the kitchen canning them up.

Because I live in the heart of Amish farmland and because it's September, produce is local, plentiful, and cheap right now.  The money I spent bought me something like 60 pounds of tomatoes, which turned into 3- or 4-dozen quarts of spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato juice. 

Because I have the jars already, canning expenses are minimal.  In fact, for most of my canning-savvy friends, the lids are the only additional expense.  But a few years ago, I took a chance on Tattler Reusable lids.  And they work great.  On the down side, they don't "ping" like metal lids, and I'll occasionally have one or two jars out of 12 that doesn't seal.   But on the up side, there's no trash, and I don't have to go buy any supplies at all just because I've decided to can up some food.

But the day was WAY even better than putting up a bunch of food for cheap.  Because J-son was needing to earn some Mom-Money toward a new phone, he dedicated himself to helping me prepare the tomatoes.  I put him in charge of washing, coring, and dicing the tomatoes.  This means he got to practice using the cuisinart.  (Yay, machines!)
While he prepared the tomatoes, I did all the hot-water stuff: getting the canner going, sanitizing jars, heating up the sauce, filling jars.  We had a great time grooving to David Ball serenading us with "Riding with Private Malone"  and Linda Rondstadt rocking us to "You're No Good".
But in spite of Linda's tauntings, we were good.  J-son was delightedly proud of himself for helping me zoom through the tomatoes.  And we talked about the lyrics, about what it means for soldiers to return home, about driving cars.  And we high-fived each other for finishing up so quickly.

And I thought about how it's been several months since I've felt the need to install locks on doors; this son of mine seems to have forded his way past the miserable, stormy times of sticky-fingered-ness.  Maybe it's the Quaker Local School (our motto: "Better than Jail"), or maybe it's that he's just a bit older, or maybe it's that his father is home from the army.  But whatever it is, J-son seems to have turned a very good corner.  Praise Heaven.

And now, we have a bit of summer preserved for the upcoming cold months.  We'll get to taste this summer even in February.


  1. I'm jealous of those tomatoes! It's been too hot for ours to fruit. They get little flowers that just fall off. :( I can't complain though because we didn't actively plant any tomatoes, these are just bonus from previous years. But local tomatoes are not cheap for us.

  2. When you dice and can your tomatoes, how do you remove the skins?

    1. I don't remove the skins, actually. I did that the first year I canned up tomatoes, but it was so much work that I decided to see how it went to can the tomatoes with skin still on. I found that I didn't mind the skin at all (don't even notice it).

      I've since e-bumped into many other people who skip the "remove the skin step", as well. We all lived to tell about it! -MM