A Few Hot Tomatoes

And the canning season begins.
A walk over to the orto to get some basil and I’m hit with the realization that there are a ton of ripe tomatoes that need to be dealt with…NOW.
On one hand a kitchen garden is forgiving; if you don’t need any onions, you can leave them in the ground for a few days and no harm done. On the other hand, there is a use it or lose it urgency to ripe tomatoes.

So much for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Ripe Tomatoes

The harvesting is fun, the tomatoes are warm from the sun; there is a satisfying weight to the basket as I lug it home.

Pot of Tomatoes
An hour into peeling the tomatoes, the warm fuzzy glow has been washed away by the steaming hot tomatoes, burned finger tips, and that itchy feeling I get from being submerged in tomato acid. I ruefully realize the Pioneer Woman has staff to do this kind of stuff, and here I am only halfway through the peel and grind process.

Grinding Tomatoes
Once the ground, peeled, and mostly seeded tomatoes are in the pot, bubbling away, my mood improves considerably. The tomatoes smell delicious and they are crazy sweet.

Peeled Tomatoes

I have a fancy pair of canning tongs that makes lifting the boiling bottles out of the sterilization bath a breeze. They are more like elongated, scissored grippers than tongs, and they allow you to pick up the bottle by the neck or the body.  Regular tongs have a channel for the boiling water to run directly onto your arm, so you either scream and drop the jar or suck it up and let the water flow. My gripper tongs make bath time fun.
Steamy Water BathOnce the bottles have boiled for a good half hour, out they come to cool. Now I wait for the “POP” sound as the lids contract, and I know I have a good seal on the jar. As I’m making dinner for our orto-mates, the crimson colored jars are cooling by the window I know they are filled with nothing but tomatoes and satisfaction.

OK, like childbirth, all pain is forgotten, and I’m ready for the next batch of tomatoes.

(PS The idea that childbirth pain is forgotten is rubbish. I remember it ALL..it’s just the price you pay for a kid or for a batch of canned tomatoes.)

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