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.