Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stop Saucing Me Around!

I have managed to get through the entire harvest season without pulling out my canner -- until now. I decided early on this year that I didn't want to bother with making jam (since I still have a shelf full of jars I don't use), and I spent the hot weeks putting produce and herbs either in the freezer or the dryer.

But it's tomato season, and I definitely need more tomatoes for the winter. So my gracious friend, the Delighted Gardener, set me up with peck baskets of her paste tomatoes (two last week and one this week) as my week's barter so that I could can.

Though each peck basket has looked daunting, working one peck at a time has actually been a good speed for me. I blanched and peeled the tomatoes after lunch, rested a wee, then milled them first in the mini food processor and then the chinois to get a seed-free, relatively smooth sauce.

After another short break, I started simmering the sauce (in two pans -- it made a lot!) and added the pepper, onions, herbs, and other goodies from the recipe, then let the sauce cook down on medium-low heat while I made my afternoon run to the market. A few hours later, I could start up the canner and then get everything into jars and processed before bedtime.

Last week's batch of tomatoes only yielded five pints, but this week's gave me seven, so I think I should be set for winter if I stretch out the pizza sessions.

And now I can put the canner away again until it's time for grape season...

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