There are reasons why I am posting less frequently this summer than I sometimes do, the largest of which is my lovely tomato patch. Each harvest is measured in bushels, and then the process begins. After picking for an hour or so the tomatoes need to be washed and sorted. Which ones are so green they won't be usable for several days, which can be used in two to three days, which should be cut up right away? Separate out the good slicers and the cherries as well. (The cherries sit on our coffee table like a big bowl of candy!) Once the sort cycle is complete there are a few hours of cutting, then there is the cooking.
The cooking takes by far the most time. I have done a couple of batches of stewed tomatoes, which only require an hour or so of cooking, just enough to make sure the tomatoes are cooked through. But the ketchup and sauce require many long hours of cooking.
|Big batch on a little stove|
|Yellow tomatoes for golden ketchup|
Then the cooking continues for hours and hours (sometimes more than a day) until enough liquid has evaporated away to call it sauce (or ketchup).
Then the jars, most of which have been out of use for many years, get washed and sterilized, then filled,
wiped, lidded, and put into the canner in batches until all are well sealed. Then they are left to cool.
The morning after the rings are removed, the jars are wiped down again and marked and finally, at long long last, they are placed in neat rows on the canning shelves. Whew! Now it's time to start all over again!
It is exhausting work indeed, but it is also incredibly fulfilling, it leaves me plenty of time for contemplation, but precious little time for sitting in front of the computer. Of course there are occasional breaks, some of which allow me to enjoy the little things in life
but many of those breaks result in new work loads. Like the hour of berry picking we did this week.
and a fresh blueberry goodie!
So, if you've ever thought it would be wonderful to can up all of your food for the winter, you are absolutely right. Just be prepared with an oxygen mask because there aren't many opportunities for coming up for air!