Tomato Preserving 2013

There is still time. Every year I take notes, but never feel like I get them done in time to publish this. Because when I started canning, recipes that list things like “12 cups of chopped tomato” aren’t very helpful while I’m at the market trying to buy the correct amount. Also, I tend to lose paper notes. But I hope someone finds this helpful.

Last week (8/25) I bought a 20 lb box of organic roma tomatoes. And throughout the week I worked on processing them with a friend of mine. They sat until Tuesday, at which point I took them out of the box and put them in a single layer* on three sheet pans (two half-sheets and one jelly-roll). On Wednesday I blanched and chopped 12 pounds in preparation for 2 batches of salsa (I divided these as I went). On Thursday I chopped everything else for those two batches, then cooked and processed one batch. On Friday I cooked and processed the second batch. And now its Sunday night and I started oven-dried tomatoes (4 1/8 lbs fit on my jelly roll pans that fit in my small oven). Sometimes starting a canning project can be daunting so I break it into chunks (a tip from Food in Jars blog). I had friends staying with me so we tried to fit canning amongst about-the-town and entertain-the-kiddos time. Another friend of mine powered through her box in one night.

Salsa pic

The short notes

  • 6 lbs tomatoes becomes 12 cups of tomatoes becomes 7 pints of Spicy Tomato Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  I seeded 2 jalapenos, used 4 with seeds, I used 1/2 cup of the dried-chile water to puree. Initial taste tests suggest an extra spicy version this year.
  • 5 lbs tomatoes becomes 10 cups of tomatoes becomes 5 pints of House Tomato Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I used 5 jalapenos with seeds instead of the green bell pepper and hot sauce. Initial taste tests suggest an extra spicy version this year.
  • 4 lbs tomatoes on their way to oven-dried goodness. This gets stored in the freezer – I highly recommend having these to perk up fall, winter, spring and early summer meals.
  • approximately 3 lbs haven’t met their fate yet.
  • We probably ate a pound with meals.

* This box came home on the under ripe side. Last year a lost several tomatoes because they went bad in the box and contaminated other tomatoes (“one rotten apple spoils the bunch” has merit) so this year I spread everything out. Keeping them on sheet pans made it easy to move as we dealt with other cooking tasks (like blackberry jam and dinner).

And now this week I came home from the market with 10 lbs of tomatillos. Salsa verde is in my near future. And next week I plan to split a 20 lb box of romas with a friend.

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September 1, 2013. Tags: , , . preserving.

5 Comments

  1. bethh replied:

    you’re such an inspiration!!!! If you are looking for suggestions, Grand Central’s Mediterranean tosti is my favorite sandwich. It features their tomato jam: http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2008/06/recipe_detail.html?id=6374&search=relish&

    I tried making it once and the results weren’t satisfactory, but perhaps you’ll have better luck! (mine wasn’t bad, just wasn’t amazing)

  2. Kelli replied:

    That is a great way to save summer in a jar! Did you find it cost effective? Sometimes I have these great plans for canning and it ends up being a super expensive hobby. I think it makes sense financially if you have a garden you are trying to save.

    • anotheryarn replied:

      I’ve never been really serious about checking the cost per jar though I aim to stay within reason. I don’t garden but do focus on buying “canning quantities” from the farmer’s market (ie 20 lbs of tomatoes that are priced by the box). I think last year I did some calculations and figured that that our salsa was on par with a low to medium priced store bought salsa but we felt that taste-wise it was on par with expensive store bought salsa. The same goes for jam, where I focus on making interesting things that I can’t find in store (or if I do, they are the $$ jars). IIRC plain tomato canning would be about the same price as the store but with more work on my end.

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