Processing Tomatoes (Soothing my Inner Squirrel)

 

I've already canned plum tomatoes and moved on to adding skinned tomatoes into my sauce.  In the foreground I have marinara (for use with sausage and meatballs, etc.), The Fra Diavolo (for seafood) is in the blue pot and the little one in the back is for tomato paste (a six oz. can is always too much so I put the paste into two oz. jars.)

I’ve already canned plum tomatoes and moved on to adding skinned tomatoes into my sauce. In the foreground I have marinara (for use with sausage, meatballs, etc.), The Fra Diavolo (for seafood) is in the blue pot and the little one in the back is for tomato paste (a six oz. can is always too much so I put the paste into two oz. jars.)

I have an inner squirrel.  Each fall I am compelled to put up food for the winter, it’s something I’ve done since childhood and it brings me a deep sense of satisfaction.  For the past two days it’s been tomatoes.  A week ago I made a vat of Bolognese sauce and a vat of tomato soup, which I froze, but I planned to can the output from this current project in glass jars.  Frozen sauce and soup make a meal easy, but the containers still have to be defrosted.  If produce can be canned, it’s instantly available.  I don’t take a chance with meat sauce like Bolognese, but tomatoes have enough acid that canning in a boiling water bath is considered safe.  We have a food mill called a Squeezo that makes easy work of skinning and seeding them, but I like the texture of the seeds and fibers so I always blanch about half in boiling water, peel them and slice them into the sauce.

My husband likes to run the Squeezo.

My husband likes to run the Squeezo.  I use plum tomatoes for sauces and paste.

First I cold pack peeled tomatoes, great to have on hand for stews, pot roasts and similar winter comfort food.  Next come the sauces; Fra Diavolo and marinara, then, using only the seedless Squeezo sauce, some for tomato paste.  As always, it’s a family affair with Charlo our African Grey Parrot helping out by providing moral support.  Now that there are just the two of us, I use pint jars for the sauces, but I do a few big ones for when the children come over.

Inner Squirrel Satisfied

Love the sound the jars make when they seal:  “snick.”  Inner Squirrel Satisfied.

 

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Marjorie said,

    You’re one impressive squirrel! Even though I don’t freeze or can produce, I love reading about your procedures and I’m always pleased to see email from “A Naturalist’s Table.”

    Like

  2. 3

    Carla said,

    Imagine how healthy we would be if we all took the time to eat natural food. Even though tomatoes aren’t my favorite, this all looks delicious. Carla

    Like

  3. 4

    Thanks, Carla. The children grew up on this sauce and I’ve made it for many years. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if there weren’t a jar or two in the cellar.

    Like

  4. 5

    jacque said,

    I cannot imagine having the patience to do this. Kudos to you, Madam Squirrels!

    Like


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