Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tomatoed

This morning my in-laws did a wonderful thing for us.  They came really early, really really early and picked vegetables for us.  Peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers the whole bit.  I had picked the okra yesterday afternoon late, so that's the only thing they didn't do.  Then, get this, wonderful folks that they are they took the peas home and shelled them.  Then, they delivered the peas to us, and mom-in-law helped me to clean and cut the okra.  We bagged the okra and peas and put them in the freezer, but that still left peppers and tomatoes.  No, I mean TOMATOES.   A bushel maybe.  Lots.  No really, lots and lots.


What to do with lots and lots of tomatoes?  Here's my deal: I canned them.  Well, I canned what I could.  First I had to peel them because the peelings are definitely not something I care for after cooking.  To do that I boiled water in a medium sized pan and dropped 'maters in.  A few seconds later they come out and the peelings slide off.  Core and quarter them and drop into a bowl for later when everything's peeled.  After that I chopped them using a cutter that my parents used to cut okra and green onions back when they were still truck farming.

The photo here shows a side view of the cutter.  There's a handle in the upper left corner that, when pulled down, moves the "fingers" down and forward.  The veggies are put right on top the blades (the dark lines in the center of the picture) and the fingers force the veggies through the blades, effectively slicing them into one-quarter inch pieces.  Tomatoes zip through in nothing flat.  So cutting a big bowl of peeled tomatoes doesn't take long.  Then I add onions, peppers and garlic and stirred it all together.  Stuff into hot pints add 1/2 teaspoon of margarita salt (I happen to have that already) and fill with the juice from the sliced tomatoes.  Put hot lids and rings on and drop into a hot water bath.  They need to be in the boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Then remove to a towel on the counter to cool and look at what beautiful seasoning we have.

Twelve pints of seasoning tomatoes, ready for gravies, stews, spaghetti sauce, okra gumbo, soups, and so much more.  There's just enough salt to help preserve them and add to the flavoring without having to worry about high blood pressure.  The onions, peppers and garlic will certainly enhance anything that the tomatoes will go into.  We could eat them as they are, sort of like salsa, but I really canned these to use in my cooking.  It's a wonderful secret ingredient and because they are in jars, I can use any amount and store the rest in the fridge.  In the past I have frozen the seasoning in ice trays then popped them into zipper bags to use, but there's no space in the freezer for them and I really like the fresh flavor of canned veggies.


How about this: all twelve jars sealed!  Yea!  When I canned the pickles and relish, two pints didn't seal.  So this is an improvement.

Check out this great pot that my dad gave me a while back.  It's my mom's old pressure cooker. I bet it's filled with stories.  My mom canned for a family of ten using this pot.  It's so old that it uses the old system of nuts and bolts to hold the lid down.  To open it when the lid is closed tight, I have to pry the lid off with a hammer.  Tapping lightly on the part that the bolts fit into also works but either system takes time and muscle.  Oh, let's not forget the muscle required to lift that heavy pot.  I will not attempt to move it unless it's completely empty.  That means hauling water in pitchers to fill it.  But, it's perfectly okay.  Using it reminds me of how hard my mom was willing to work to help provide for us.



How about you?  Have you canned any fruits or veggies?  Tell us about it.  Don't forget that leaving a comment will also give you an extra chance to win the  anniversary giveaway!  Read about it here.  The winner gets both giveaway gifts: the fleur de lis appliques and the $44 Etsy shop giveaway.  The winner will be chosen on June 22.


4 comments:

High Blood Pressure Treatment said...

Fruits and vegetables are the best natural cures for High Blood Pressure Treatment you can find. Leave the saturated and starch full food. Use low cholesterol oil like olive oil and canola oils. Also onions and garlic reduce high blood pressure if consumed regularly, it really works because of its therapeutic virtues.

Cherry Red Quilter said...

You AMAZE me with your energy - sometime you need to share some photos of your vegie garden - it must be huge!

LaDonna and Diana said...

I miss having a garden and canning! What sweet in-laws you have! Those tomatoes look so delicious!

LaDonna

Diwakar Mudaliar said...

Well I’m a total tomato junkie so of course I’ll be trying this recipe asap. I'm thrilled at the thought of doing more with them than dousing with olive oil and pepper!