Monday, August 13, 2012

Putting Up 'Maters


Try though we may, fresh tomato sandwiches, salads, and salsas, don't make much of a dent in the tomato harvest. 

Some I cook into sauce with herbs, onions, peppers, and garlic and freeze. Others, I can.

Since my tomatoes haven't been sprayed (and because I'm lazy,) I don't mess with peeling them. I just cut them up and shove them in a jar with a little salt.

Then I process them in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes and that's it -- tomatoes waiting to become soup or pizza topping or part of a stew in the coming winter. 
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17 comments:

Ms. A said...

Yum! You can have some wonderful soups, when the weather gets cold! I love homemade soup.

Martin said...

One of the great things about your blog, Vicki, is the cyclical moments to look forward to. Those tomatoes look delicious. Have you tried any of those black ones yet? If so, what's the verdict?

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I cannot imagine having too many tomatoes (sigh). But I can just imagine how wonderful your kitchen must smell and how much fun it will be to open a jar of those gems in the winter.
Sam

Kath said...

Yum is right!
We didn't get so many tomatoes this year. One plant is beautifully leaved, but not a single blossom!
What we do have I immediately make into salsa, if no one claims them for salad. LOVE fresh salsa!

Brian Miller said...

nice....love summer maters....mater sandwiches esp...my mom has kept us in tomatoes this summer...she had a huge crop!

Vicki Lane said...

You are too kind, Martin -- I sometimes think I could just rerun the past year -- so little changes.

The Black Krims ARE something new though. I was seduced by their looks but am not enthusiastic about their taste. The skin and outer part, to me, has a hint of black cherry flavor -- possibly it's my mind playing tricks because of the resemblance in looks. But overall, it's a very undistinguished flavor -- hardly tomatoey at all. They are also very slow to ripen.

Frances said...

It looks to me as if your kitchen and those "maters" were meant for each other. However, Vicki, I do not believe for one instant that you are lazy!

xo

Jean Baardsen said...

I agree with Martin that it's so nice to see life's cycles through your blog! I would love those canned tomatoes!

KarenB said...

While I'm enjoying the NC mountains visiting my parents my husband is home dealing with the tomatoes. Yesterday he cooked down a huge pot of them into tomato sauce, ready for making spaghetti sauce, soup, etc. over the winter. Yum!

Deanna said...

Ours are just "com'n on". Yours look great. Mine are going to become salsa. Unless, of course, they are first consumed with bacon!

Amelia said...

I think you just changed my tomato-canning life! Not peeling them? YES. For some reason I always assumed that this was vital to their storage or something and it's the step that I dread the most (largely on principle, but also because it's a pain). Good stuff.

Star said...

...lovely and I would like to know what happens to those jars? How long can you keep them on the shelf? What happens to the ones you don't use? Do you sell them at a farmer's market? Also, please give very explicit instructions on exactly how to do that preserving? I think it is a dying art. e.g. Do you boil the jars with the tomatoes and salt in but lids off? Do you add water?

Darla said...

You make canning sound almost easy...

Inger said...

What a lovely summer's post. So poetic.

Vicki Lane said...

Star, there are lots of on line resources for canning-- and over here THE BALL BLUE BOOK GUIDE TO CANNING AND FREEZING is the traditional guide.

But, briefly: I put the canner on the stovetop with about six inches of water in it and the rack inside the canner. Turn the heat on under it. Wash the jars and set them in the canner to keep warm.

Put your rings and new jar lind into a saucepan of water and bring it to a boil. turn heat down and let sit till you begin to fill the jars.

Wash the tomatoes. Now begin to cut them up for the jar -- remove stem and core and cut out any weird looking bits. I always give a sniff to the tomato after it's been cut to make sure it hasn't started to go bad.

Remove a jar from the canned and put in a teaspoon of salt. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and shove into the jar. Mush them down with a wooden spoon-- they will provide their own juice.

When the tomato/juice level is half an inch below the top, wipe the mouth of the jar with a paper towel and seal the jar with one of your ring/lid combinations. Set back in the canner on the rack above the simmering water. Repeat till you'ved used up your tomatoes or jars.

Lower rack into water, add more hot water to cover the tops of the jars. Cover canner and bring to a boil. Process (boil) jars for 4 minutes.

Remove jars from canner, set on counter, cover with dishtowel and let cool. You will hear a pinging sound as the lids seal. when the jars are cool, you should not be able to depress the lids. (If you can, then the lid hasn't sealed. You can remove it, wipe the mouth again, put on a new lid and do the whole boiling process again. Or you can put the jar in the fridge and use it soon.)

Once the jars are cool and the lids have sealed,you can remove the rings and store the jars, preferably somewhere cool and dark like a cellar. The tomatoes will be fine for several years, as long as they remain sealed.

I have around 30 quarts left from last years ... they taste just fine.

Star said...

Thank you for the instructions Vicki - that's great. Lots I didn't know in there. I have copied the instructions for my cookery book and will have a go. I suppost it can be done like that for most vegetables?

Vicki Lane said...

Star - The hot water bath method works for tomatoes because they are acidic. All other vegetables will require a pressure canner. If you added onions and peppers to the tomatoes. it would lower the acidity and you'd have to use a pressure canner.