Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to can tomatoes

1. Save tomatoes from your one thriving tomato plant (note to self: putting tomato plants in pots on the front porch does not yield tomatoes) in the freezer until you have enough to can. Use up valuable freezer space for tomatoes (and pears and zucchini) instead of your uncle's bratwurst, which is far superior to the bratwurst you had in Munich, although perhaps the brats at the train station are not a representative sampling of all German brats, and which is harder to get than canned tomatoes.

2. Wash the canning jars you got on Craigslist in the dishwasher, which you are not sure how to use as you are a wash the dishes by hand person because a dishwasher is wasteful for just two persons who would run out of dishes and have to eat straight out of the Tupperware container before the dishwasher would be full. Not that there's anything wrong with eating straight out of the container, SH. Stop the dishwasher in mid-cycle because it is taking too darn long and it's already gone through the hot, soapy, sterilize the jars so we don't get botulism part.

3. Stuff the jars with the thawed tomatoes. Boil the tomato liquid that came out when the tomatoes thawed (See: Biology 101, water expansion upon freezing, bursting cells, etc, etc). Watch pot boil over and spew red liquid onto the stovetop at the exact moment that husband, who is a tiny, tiny bit CDO and although is a hoarder is a very neat, tidy, edges squared hoarder, comes into the kitchen. Roll eyes as husband says, "You're making a mess! Why are you making this mess?" and tell him to go away, you are handling this.

4. Boil the water for the water bath. Gallons of water. Boiling. On the one day that it reaches 86 degrees and I'm certainly not complaining about that in Milwaukee. Sweat. Sweat some more.

5. After pouring the boiling tomato juice into the jars and only getting some of it onto the counter because you didn't want to buy the wide-mouthed funnel because you are so cheap even though you are a gold-digger, put the tomatoes in the water bath with the little jar holder thingy that you got at the hardware store for $9.90 but you had a coupon for $5 so it was OK, although you now discover that you could have gotten it on amazon.com for half the price and used the coupon for something else. Wonder what the point of the jar holder thing is because it doesn't seem too stable as it grips the heavy, hot jars. Realize it's because you were lifting with the wrong end. Obviously, you are not smart enough to be a good gold-digger.

6. Boil jars for 45 minutes. Remove from kettle. Watch in satisfaction as lids pop, meaning the seal is good.

7. Notice that there is a lot of airspace in the jar. Hmmmm. That can't be good. Call Jeanine the Jam Lady who taught your canning class. Bad news. You have to re-do the tomatoes.

8. Repeat above steps the next morning but with additional water.

9. Do the math. $78 or so for the manure, sand, and peat moss that went into the garden. $25 for the rabbit fence. $15 for six tomato seedlings. $20 for jars and canning equipment. Ten cents for the overdue fine for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" that you didn't read while you were canning. Hours and hours of digging up the yard for the garden, a few hours canning. All for five quarts of canned tomatoes, a product one can buy for under $2/can at the Pick and Save.


AKJ said...

I vote Pic and Save

LPC said...

Nah. It was therapy. That costs >$100/hour.

Anonymous Mother said...

Beside, there is the SATISFACTION of knowing you can DO IT!

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Not to mention, the satisfaction of knowing that you can feed yourself, which means that you'd survive a nuclear holocaust, provided that you survive the initial blast.

I myself have not demonstrated this ability.

TosaGuy said...

My mom canned 40 quarts. I just use those.

Canned tomatos cannot be beat when making chili.

John0 Juanderlust said...

There's a book? I know that girl! The dragon tattoo one. Very nice.