Why do I love this time of year? This is why! This is a tomato I pulled from the ripening table because it had a scare and was getting fruit-fly-ish. I just cut the scar and stem out and cut it for a salad.
JUST LOOK AT IT!
Breakfast. I love breakfast. We all love breakfast, we just don’t all love to make breakfast. During the week, we don’t want to get up early enough to make a good breakfast. So, what do we do? Well, we either skip it or, maybe even worse, we stop at the local fast-food joint and by a sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin ( a personal favorite of mine!).
Well, no more! I already have the alarm set for 5:30 AM, so I’m going to start getting up then, take the shower and make a decent breakfast. Right now, I keep hitting the snooze button (8 minutes each time) and cuddle with my warm, soft and just comfortable wife Molly. Sometimes, I’m so tired, I fall asleep each time hit the snooze and get a short, different dream before the next alarm (kind of like a CliffsNotes version of each dream). But, I digress.
So, I will (try) to get up each day and make a decent breakfast. Maybe, if I do, I can inspire the rest of my family to also wake up a bit early and have a good breakfast. I now have a source of good eggs, I make a fine pancake, I have bacon from Karl’s and who wouldn’t love some biscuits? No, I’m not going to make them all at once, but with plenty of time, there’s no reason I can’t make at least one of them.
Well, it must be fall because I’ve started canning tomatoes. A wonderful farm stand in a nearby town sells “canning tomatoes”. These are really nice tomatoes, more often than not, very ripe, ugly, misshapen or with a scar, just not very perfect for the main shelf. They are also $10.00 for 25 pounds, about 40 cents a pound. I’ve got another 15 pounds or so ripening on my dining room table and I’m getting another box for the winter.
If you have a chance to get tomatoes like these, I can’t encourage you enough to get them for winter. Here is my procedure to can tomatoes:
Peel the tomatoes. – Cut out the stem end with a paring knife and make several slashing cuts through the skin. Drop them into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove from water and run cold water over them under the faucet, all the while peeling the skin off. Chop
Cook down the tomatoes in a large pan (I use my turkey roaster) until reduced by quater to a third, stirring often so the tomatoes don’t burn on the bottom.
Sterilize the jars – I use my dishwasher for this. Put the quart jars in the dishwasher and quick wash or regular wash the jars. Just before canning, boil the tops in hot water for 5 minutes to sterilize and soften wax.
Fill clean jars with hot tomatoes to within ½ inch of the top. Place a hot top on the jar and screw on a lid.
Place in a stockpot a wire cooling rack in it so the jars don’t sit on the bottom. Fill with just enough water to cover jars, bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, place jars in the pots and boil for 20 minutes. Remove tomatoes and cool on racks or a towel. When cool, check the canning by pressing on the center of each lid, it should not pop up, if it does, place in refrigerator for use within a week – they will still be good.
Here’s the first 15 quarts:
DISCLAIMER: The FDA says the tomatoes we have today are not acidic enough to can without adding additional acid to them, like powdered vitamin C or lemon juice. A low acid environment may allow the growth of the bacteria that can cause botulism; one of the most deadly pathogens known to man. I believe cooking down the tomatoes increases the acid level and I’ve had no problems. BUT, that doesn’t mean I won’t or you won’t.