Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Bushel and a Half of Tomatoes

I spread out the work over a week or so mid-August.  I almost didn't take any photos because tomato canning is basically routine in my kitchen in August.  But hello Margo! that is the point of your blog:  making sure you remember the work that is not news, but rather is familiar and rhythmic and therefore often discounted as interesting, real, or hard.

Well, I worked hard and competently to put up all these tomatoes.  My big kids did all the blanching and peeling all by themselves.

So far for 2016, I have:
12 pints salsa
24 quarts whole tomatoes
9 quarts tomato soup
9 half-pints ketchup
8 pints pizza sauce

Some clarifications:
1. The half-bushels of seconds tomatoes cost $6 apiece this year.
2. The salsa came from a bunch of really ripe tomatoes and peppers that my friend Naomi gave me one Sunday, not from the bushel-and-a-half.
3. I would still like to can at least 4 more pints of pizza sauce.  A little more ketchup, too, if the opportunity arises.
4. I set goals for canning after taking an inventory of my basement canning shelves this spring.  So these jars are being added to some food left from last year.  The only canned food I try to use up every year is pickles because they seem to get mushy with time.

5.  And a dirty little canning secret:  I have been re-using my canning flats.  All the authorities tell you not to do this, but everybody in my mother's generation re-used their flats with no ill effects.  I did it this winter with a few small batches to see how they would hold up because I was awash in used flats.  No poor sealing that I can see or taste.  But of course, you must decide who to listen to and how to keep your family safe: I just wanted you to know what's going on over here.


Jennifer Jo said...

I ALWAYS reuse my lids. I toss the ones that have rust or denting, but all the rest are perfectly fine.

Margo said...

You were part of the reason I switched!!

e said...

Well done on the tomato front! Oh, how I love a well-stocked pantry. All the beautiful jars of delicious produce and the hard, hot work that it represents.

I am ambivalent about reusing the lids. I have done so in the past despite all the doomsayers and have not had any problems. But, I always question myself -- should I, should I not??? One thing for sure, if you want to reuse them, take them off carefully with the back edge of a butter knife so that you don't dent the lid.

Tammy said...

I bought a 25# box of canning tomatoes this summer. I'm not sure how that relates to bushels, but from that I got 9 pints of tomatoes (plain), 8 pints of salsa, and 1 quart of tomatoes in the freezer. I have contemplated getting another box but this week I am sick and I'm not sure how much longer the farm will offer the canning tomatoes. Also, it was very odd but some of them looked perfectly fine but were fermented/rotten, so I had to smell each and every one (that was a pain).

My sister-in-law gave me 3 dozen Tattler lids. Those are completely legal to reuse. ;-) Hehe. I love them! I've used some of them 3 times already and I have had 100% sealing success.

Margo said...

Tammy, I used a few Tattler lids out of curiosity, but I couldn't stomach the price or the plastic when I can just re-use the cheap metal flats.

Around here, our half-bushels come in cardboard "tomato boxes" with lids. I think a half-bushel could be about 25 lbs.

Becky said...

I've had issues with seals, so I never reuse the lids anymore.

I'm slightly jealous of the price you get your half-bushels for. Here they range from $15 all the way up to $40 (certified organic). I've yet to put up any tomatoes this year because it's been so stinking hot. I did pick up a bushel of peaches yesterday, so that's what I'm doing this weekend. I figure I have all of September to get my tomatoes done.

Thrifty Mom In Boise said...

I've reused my lids especially when canning jam. I've used them with salsa too. No problems so far.

jenny_o said...

What a lot of work - but also what a stash to have for the next year. You are a dynamo!

Unknown said...

I've been reusing my lids as well for a few years now. I open my home-canned goods with my fingernails to try and not dent the lids just so I can reuse them. No problems so far.
Upstate NY

Lana said...

My Mom always reused hers and now I am going to, too. I just needed someone to say it, I guess.