For the past few years, I have been lucky enough to buy tomatoes for canning from a local fish monger whose dad grows a lot of fresh veggies for their store. This year was no exception. So, for $.50/lb I load them up and bring them home (well, Matt actually does that part) for a long weekend of processing. This year I also had a lot of my own tomatoes to use as well. Maybe a total of about 130 lbs of tomatoes…that is a lot of processing.
I started out on Saturday morning with my salsa. I had plenty of green peppers and jalapenos from my garden, so for a couple batches I only needed to use onions from the farmers market, everything else was my own. Wow, that was satisfying! By the end of Saturday I was wiped and my hands were officially burning (they are still a bit tingly – next year I will wear gloves when cutting the jalapenos). I was able to can 18 pints of salsa though, and that made me happy. I think this is the most salsa I have canned in one year, typically I start to lose steam around the 10-12 pint mark. Pre-cutting all the veggies for the 4 batches and putting them in containers so I could just dump it in the pot with the tomatoes helped my cause.
Then yesterday I spent the day doing crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Let me tell you, I always run out of crushed tomatoes. Every year it is the same, I never have enough. Well, now I know why I don’t have enough. It takes a lot of tomatoes to make 7 quarts of crushed tomatoes…I guess I didn’t realize that going in. Not that I don’t still have plenty of tomatoes, but the crushed tomatoes seem to be more time consuming. By the time I cut up enough tomatoes to fill my stock pot, I am about to pass out and ready to move to something different!
All in all I was able to can 18 pints of salsa, 7 quarts of crushed tomatoes, and 7 pints of tomato sauce. I am adding that to my 13 half pints of peach salsa and 8 half pints of peach BBQ sauce. It doesn’t seem like much when you list it out, but it will provide quite a few meals for my family this winter. I have enough tomatoes to make another 10 pints or so of tomato sauce I think, and then I will call tomato canning season over.
This year is by far the most I have done canning wise, and I am so happy about it. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment to see the jars lining up on my table and on the shelves. I am already starting to plan for apple season which will be upon us in no time.
What are you canning or preserving these days?