canning17 October, 2011

K blanching tomatoes

Our freezer is full. Full of cherry tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato spread, tomato jam, salsa, tomato juice, squash and zucchini slices and shreds, sweet corn, green beans, pesto, herb bread, chile paste and slices and diced bits, kale, watermelon cubes, and who knows what else.

This means we’ve been trying to keep up with the rest of the tomatoes (bushels and bushels of them, no joke) that keep coming in by canning.

Previously, we’d tried our first canning early this summer with a few pints of pickles, which didn’t go so well. Two jars cracked while in the water and another two didn’t seal, and I think we ended up with about four jars in total that came out right. We moved on to canning tomato jam, with only slightly better luck, but by mid-August, we made and canned something like 30 pints of applesauce and 20 half-pints of peach butter, all of which went fabulously.

So now, here we are solidly in autumn, and we’re putting up all the tomatoes we can (pun!). 

We’ve done 16 quarts of crushed tomatoes, which was easy, but they look really creepy, and 8 pints of salsa, which took a lot of chile de-seeding time (but was worth it, as we’ve got a half-bushel of chiles to deal with as well… drying for the rest of them?). Right now, our counter is covered in only a single layer of tomatoes (about a half-bushel), and as temps will be dropping well below freezing at night later this week, we predict only one more serious tomato harvest to go. The end might very well be in sight.

And between all dry stores and canned goods and all that’s in the freezer, I think our winter will be pretty delicious. And next year, both with the garden and with the preserving, we’ll know so much more of what we’re doing, and I predict more and better of everything. Stay tuned.

P.S. If you want to get into canning yourself, and wish I gave you more of a How-To here, check out these instead:

The National Center for Home Food Preservation is the officially sanctioned headquarters for all things canning. They cover all the basics and are who you should consult for best practices. Food in Jars and Well Preserved are great blogs for more creative recipes and troubleshooting.


  • Really you even predict more tomatoes for next year? Seems a little sadistic.

    cja17 October, 2011 at 4:23 pm

  • Earlier tomatoes. And better staking so we can find them to pick them easier. And pressure canning, and more jars, so we can deal with them after we’ve picked them more efficiently. And maybe finding better ways to pass them off to friends and neighbors.

    a17 October, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  • I am jealous! I have quite a collection but you have me out beat thats for sure! Have fun!

    P.S. Now following!

    foodies at home18 October, 2011 at 12:59 am

  • What do you mean that the crushed ones look creepy? Strange color? Weird separation? I’m curious.

    Mollie | Jennings Brae Bank Farm18 October, 2011 at 6:42 am

  • Mollie – They separated so there’s a bottom 1/3 or so just liquid, which allows you to see these tendrils of tomato pulp on this clear orangey background, and it looks far more like something a mad scientist should have around than a cook. I’m pretty sure this is how it’s supposed to look (although less separation would of course be nice), I just think it’s creepy.

    A18 October, 2011 at 7:52 am

  • Foodies At Home – Pleased to meet you! And your served-in-the-pumpkin pumpkin soup! (On their blog, other folks! Click on their signature to go check it out!)

    A18 October, 2011 at 7:55 am

  • I’m looking forward to one day having enough land to have a real, honest-to-goodness sustaining garden. Your harvest and resulting stored goods illustrate a solid goal for me.

    Jill-Ann18 October, 2011 at 8:51 pm

  • Awesome! I love the view into your kitchen!

    Nicola19 October, 2011 at 11:27 pm