Well, I said it would happen, and it did.
I canned my garden tomatoes.
Being a canning virgin, I really had no idea what I would do or how I would do it, but I did it! With our new square foot garden, I’ve had a few moments this summer when I’ve looked at the overgrown cucumber, corn and tomato plants and I become completely overwhelmed. And then, with a trip on the horizon I just knew I had to deal with the tomatoes before leaving them to rot.
Having no idea where to begin, and also not having much time on my hands, I did a quick Google search and stumbled upon this awesome blog, Food in Jars. Blogger Marisa McClellan does a fantastic job organizing her blog and providing instruction, tips and tried and true tricks for canning foods. To deal with our over-abundance of grape tomatoes and larger-than-life-I-forgot-what-I-planted tomatoes I used her posts on canning whole peeled tomatoes and how to slow roast grape tomatoes. Since I had a few more questions on what to do it and when, I also found a great quick resource guide from Sunset Mag on home canning that supplemented the process for me.
Rather than dive into what I did and how I did it, I’ll give you the facts.I started with about 10 pounds of grape tomatoes that resulted in 9 pint jars of slow roasted tomatoes and 2/12 quart jars of whole peeled tomatoes (there’s a reason why you should avoid canning smaller tomatoes…..).
I dealt with the grape tomatoes first, since it simply involves cleaning them, slicing them, seasoning them and tossing them in the oven for a 2 hour roast. I was able to accomplish getting them in the oven before the munchkin woke up.
Next up were the bigguns’. While canning is fairly easy, there are quite a few steps to deal with and it while it’s not timing heavy like in cooking, having a nap time and a 10 month old to deal with changes the game a bit. Knowing we were heading out of town soon and I didn’t want to come home to 20 pounds of rotten tomatoes on my counter, I got to canning. Again, following Food in Jar’s directions, I prepped these bad boys (cored and peeled them), added organic lemon juice and then processed them. Easy, right?
The end result was 9 jars of whole peeled tomatoes and a slightly bored baby.
Since little man woke up just as I was starting to peel the tomatoes (perfect timing…), I decided to commit to the process and kept charging through. Even though it was the hottest day of the week, we pushing through with an oven set to 300 and three burners going on the stove all afternoon (good times). The best way for me to deal with a bored baby was to find new objects he hadn’t played with yet and toss them his way. Sure I felt like I was jipping him of a perfectly fine afternoon at the park, but he will be loving me all winter long when we’ll have homemade tomato sauce from our very own canned tomatoes, damn it.
So happy we tried it out and hopefully all the tomatoes turned out great! We’ll be trying our first batch later this month, so fingers crossed.