Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canning tom-ae-toes vs. bottling tom-ah-toes

Canning is what Americans do to fruit. Brits "bottle" it.

The procedure is much the same, although the equipment is, at least in the rural parts of America, much more easily found in hardware and grocery stores than in Britain.

These are Juliet tomatoes, a small plum- or Roma-style berry, suitable for canning whole. They are first washed in cold water, then parboiled in hot water to help free the skins, re-cooled in cold water, then peeled and placed in jars. Each quart takes about 40 peeled Juliets. We add 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid and a little salt, then boil the jars for 45 minutes in the water bath canner.

We also canned whole some Amish Paste and froze a bunch of quart Ziploc bags of mixed tomato sauce, cooked to thickness with basil, oregano and garlic already added.

We have now on hand more than 40 quarts of canned or frozen tomato products and we're about 3/4 done with the harvest. We did will with the Juliets which keep well and avoid rot. We lost some of the Amish Paste to base rot. The other large varieties were productive but we lost some to rot, water cracking, and mice. The pigs got all of the bad tomatoes, which they scarf up happily.

Even so, we have as much as we can use this winter and perhaps more.

Most of the cherry tomatoes have gone to waste because we've been too busy at work to pick them.

Aimee made 80 half-pint jars of pesto, which we also freeze. And we arranged for Hamlet, the fattest of our two feeder pigs, to go to the butchers. Ophelia will follow when she's put on a bit extra. Right now Hamlet fights her for food, so she's leaner than she needs to be.

We won't starve, or be cold this winter.

When we remodeled this house we put in a huge kitchen, 28 by 14 feet. There's lots of room for this kind of work.

Aimee made cheese again, so we're having pizza tonight. With our own sliced fresh tomatoes and Aimee's pesto.

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