72-45-24-3

As in…. 72 pints of salsa, 45 pints tomato soup, 24 quarts spaghetti sauce, and 3 pints ketchup.  Wow.  Taya and the children have really put in the hours processing tomatoes this year!  We planted about 75 paste-type plants, and 20-25 “eating” plants – heirlooms, cherries, and a couple new varieties to try.  We had a good year with tomatoes for sure, and I learned that the Lemon Boy variety is not for us.

The biggest thing I realize each and every year – Taya absolutely hates tomatoes, but she puts them up for us each year anyway.  Hours spent processing and canning, for something you don’t even like.  That, my friends is sacrificial.

Here is one day’s worth of processing, literally from dawn until dusk.

Step 1 – harvest:  I picked about 2 bushels of tomatoes early in the morning.  Starting at about dawn.  This is the after about an hour of picking.28493484734_39c6f8e1fa_b

Step 2 – cut and process:  Taya cored and cut all those tomatoes, then the children cranked the Roma food mill to extract the juice for sauce and soup.  The “guts” get saved to make Taya’s delicious salsa.  Add onions, peppers, spices and cook. MMMMM.29116354425_0b2e682f70_b

Step 3 – cook: Using our outside stove, the sauce cooks down for several hours to thicken, and meld the seasonings together.  Looks delicious.28498987393_fb708a47e8_b

Step 4 – preserve:  In order to enjoy the fresh tomatoes all winter long, we have to run the pressure canner for 90 minutes a batch.  Notice how it’s dark outside now….  Literally dawn to dusk.  But it’s so worth it.29042631771_fb10975d3c_b

 

Another year’s tomato harvest is pretty much over. 29097480700_796b6e5b73_b I’m pulling out most of the plants, as the determinate plants are pretty much done, and the indeterminates are starting to get hit with late blight.  I’m trying the “vehicle method” for making sundried tomatoes with some of the stragglers, but the big rush of the tomato season is over.  We’re definitely grateful for a bountiful harvest, and for giving us the skills and facilities to preserve it for the cold months.

Until next time…..

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