Sunday, August 11, 2013

Diced 'Maters

Boo chowing on a 'mater and bravely considering a jalapeno.

A few weeks ago I was complaining commenting on how many cucumbers our garden had yielded this year.  If I had only known what was headed my way...

Tomatoes.  Hundreds of 'em.  Every other day it seems like, I get a fresh grocery bag of tomatoes from the garden.  I am up to my eyeballs in tomatoes!  This change of pace is bittersweet.  In my mind, tomatoes are a much more versatile option for canning.  I could make at least a dozen different dinners based off of canned tomatoes alone, and then there's spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, sloppy joe mix, chili base, etc.  The bitter in this sweetness is the fact that tomatoes are a real bitch to deal with.  The extra steps of boiling them for a few minutes and dunking them in ice water so that you may then strip their skins off (not to mention the additional dirty dishes) is a pain in my rump.  

Not only that, but on top of all of the intended ones, we've had several surprise tomato plants spring up on us!  There's one around several of the fruit trees in our backyard from when we spread compost at the beginning of the season, not to mention one that is literally as tall as me growing out of our compost pile.  Another great reason to compost!!

*Sigh*  I don't mean to sound ungrateful.  I am quite happy (and go Hubs!) with the bountiful harvest we have received.  The vast majority of our tomatoes have ended up being Romas, even though we planted them equally alongside beefsteak, cherries, and vine tomatoes.  Go fig.  So far I've tackled two batches of 'maters and will be starting a third tomorrow.  There is going to be so much chili in my future.  My love of everything Autumn keeps me motivated.

I love this site.  It's simple, to the point, and just doesn't church anything up, which I'm all about.  I used their process to do some diced tomatoes.  I had, oh, I dunno, about a zillion of 'em, and ended up making 8 or 9 pints.
My tomatoes, sans skins.

Right, so I uh, didn't have any bottled lemon juice.  A few months ago there were a bajillion limes on sale, and I juiced and froze some.  So I put a cube in each jar, and a teaspoon of canning salt. 

 I ended up not dicing my tomatoes and instead throwing the smaller ones in whole, and pulling the larger ones apart with my fingers.  I threw them in a stock pot, added enough water to cover, and boiled them for five minutes.  This is what it looked afterwards.

Packed into hot, sterilized jars.

I chose the option of pressure canning my tomatoes.  Because of their acidity, they're safe to water bathe as well.  They have to stay in the water bath for 40 minutes, while in the canner they only take 15.  Really, though, it's all in whatever you're comfortable with.

The beauties!

[8/2/14 Edit]- When I made these tomatoes, I thought the three or four batches I did would last me all year!  In reality, they were gone by October.  You would be utterly amazed how quickly you'll go through a stockpile of home canned tomatoes.  They make everything taste so much better that you'll want to make chili or sloppy joes twice a week!

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