Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Adventures in Domesticity {Canning!}

Pat with S
A few weeks ago I had my first ever opportunity to learn how to can tomatoes :). Pat, an older lady in my church, graciously offered to teach me this fine domestic art, one which she herself has done for the last 50 years!

S liked playing with the giant, pretty, red tomatoes
 I arrived at her country home around 8:15 a.m. My tomatoes were already clean and ready to go, so we put a big pot on to boil. Once it was good and bubbling, we tossed a small batch of tomatoes into the pot, and allowed them to boil for right around three minutes.

The Tomatoes Boiling
 Then we pulled the top drainer part out of the pot, and let all of the hot water fall right back into the pan (I gotta get me one of those!). The boiled tomatoes were tossed into a bowl of cold water in the sink, and we started another small batch boiling. We continued to do so until all of the tomatoes were done.
Tomatoes cooling in the sink.
 Once all of the tomatoes were cool, we peeled them. The peels came easily off (due to the boiling), and this part was pretty fun. From there we chopped them in quarters and began to stuff them into my brand spanking new mason jars :). Pat has a pressure cooking canner that she set up outside on a gas stove. I wish  I had taken pictures.


 A variety of delicious and colorful canned goods adorn Pat's shelves. Aren't they beautiful? And isn't she talented? Beets, carrots, pickles, green beans, and wax beans....


She has quite the well stocked pantry! All ready to go for the Autumn and Winter. 


In the end I came away with 18 quarts of tomatoes. I was at her house until 2 p.m, so it was a full day of work and fun!

I'm not sure if I will can again in the future. The easiest way to do it is with the special canner Pat has... she also showed me how to do it without (the "open kettle" or "hot packed" method). But I'm not sure if it would be easier just to dice and freeze them? Anyone with experience have a thought to offer on the matter?

I am sure excited however to cook the fruits of my labor into chilis and stews and tomato sauces this winter. Canning makes me feel very virtuous :).

Have you ever canned before?

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