It feels like we've been writing a lot about tomatoes and canning, so we were a little apprehensive about writing this post. But then we realized we haven't written about tomatoes and canning. Actually, we stepped back from trying to write something completely different each week and realized that this is completely appropriate. Let's not post at a modern pace that demands something different every week. Now is the time that nature has decided that tomatoes are ready for canning, so we don't have much of a choice. Especially if we don't want to be forced to have canned tomatoes in our shopping cart next month.
In addition to canned tomatoes, we buy a lot of ketchup, so how can we avoid this? Make our own!
Sunday we headed back to Wilsonville Organics, Rick was kind enough to let us come and try many of his delicious tomatoes which have ripened so nicely, taste his homemade tomato juice, and pick ourselves a bushel of tomatoes.
Sunday was by far the most humid day so far this summer, and we were planning to can at Jesse's parent's, who still scoff at air conditioning, so we set up kitchen outside to spare them the extra heat.
Jerry (Jesse's dad) and I started by cutting a small x in the bottom of the tomato this helped the skin separate from the tomato when we blanched them in boiling water for a minute. After removing the skin, we brought them all to a boil for 5 minutes before ladling them into our sterilized jars. Each 1 Litre jar had 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of pickling salt. For safety, we gave our freshly canned tomatoes a hot water bath in boiling water for 40 minutes.
It is exciting to know that when tomatoes are out of season, I can go to my pantry and grab a jar of home-preserved beauties. I know the farmer who grew them, I know the work that went into preserving them, I know what is, and more importantly, is not in them, and I know how delicious they taste. Jesse and I were talking about how a tomato deserves more respect than it gets, it grew for 70 days, it deserves to ripen on the vine, and it deserves an afternoon of your time.
Then onto the ketchup. With the remaining skinned tomatoes (that wouldn't fit into our pot on round one) we made ketchup.
Simmer around 15 pounds of tomatoes for about 20 minutes
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 tsp whole cloves
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped red chili (fresh from our garden)
3/4 tsp allspice
2 Tbs celery seed
simmer for another 20 minutes
push mixture through a sieve.
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs salt
Simmer until ketchup reduces in half or until it reaches desired consistency. Put into sterilized jars, cap and boil in a hot water bath for 7 minutes (time varies for different sized jars).
I cannot believe how delicious the ketchup is. It tastes like ketchup. I would much rather be feeding this stuff to my family than the store bought stuff, loaded with sugar, salt, and who knows what else.
By the end of the day we were tired. But excited to potentially do it all again next weekend. It is easy to avoid the supermarket during the summer, as there are so many little farmer's markets, but this should help a little through those long cold weeks of winter. These tomatoes got the respect they deserve.