A site for sore tastebuds and a woeful wallet

Tomatoes Coming Out Our Ears

I’ve been trying to grow tomatoes for years.  Sometimes I get nothing at all for yield, and sometimes I get nothing until September.  We have too darn much shade to get a good growth of anything but the earliest herbs, lettuces and other cold loving vegetables.

This year my pastor and his wife, both dear friends, had a bumper crop from their 150 plants, and let go of a giant bag of goodies to us of two nice varieties.  Now we have tomatoes coming out our ears!  Right away we shared some with our nearby neighbors then I made some fresh salsa in the blender of 6 tomatoes squeesed of their juice (I reserved the juice for the next project),  an jalapeno pepper, an onion, a tbsp of freshly chopped cilantro, a clove of garlic, and a good dash of salt and pepper.   This fresh salsa will keep several weeks in the ‘fridge.

The next project was a batch of whole peeled tomatoes processed in the pressure cooker.  I have never canned tomatoes before but I am having fun learning this skill, first by experimenting with berry preserves.  The acid in tomatoes is almost high enough that high temperature processing is not necessary.  Just a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt per quart jar takes the acidity into the safe zone.  It can be done in a stock pot boiled 45 minutes, or in a pressure canner/cooker for 25 minutes.  I opted for the pressure method because yes, 20 minutes makes that much difference in my day.

To begin. I blanched the tomatoes in boiling water for just one minute then let them cool on a plate until I could handle them.  I cut out the core and the blanching made it so the skin could almost be rubbed off.  I peeled all the tomatoes and stuffed about 5 into each sanitized jar.  I added the juice that was on the plate and some of the juice left over from making the salsa plus the lemon juice and salt until the jars had 1/2 inch of head space.  I applied the sanitized lids and bands and put them in the hot water of the pressure cooker.  I cooked them 25 minutes and let the steam die down naturally.  When the pressure was down enough, I removed the lid and took out these lovely jars of vine ripened tomatoes that we will enjoy come winter.  Now,  just three more batches to go.



4 responses

  1. avian101

    Hey, that’s a good idea to have tomatoes for many meals. We’ve been harvesting basil leaves from a couple of plants that we planted in pots. Nice to hear from you again! 🙂

    August 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    • It’s like being a squirrel…stowing away food for winter…I was down in Houston visiting family for a while. I don’t know how you get anything growing down in that Southern heat. You gotta be pretty tough! It’s good to be back home and blogging again. 🙂

      August 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

  2. I sure wish you could send some of that harvest to HK. Your tomatoes and all your dishes look delicious! Love the salsa!

    August 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    • Wow, thanks! Making the salsa was as easy as falling off a log… I wish I could send some to you too.

      August 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

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