Processing tomatoes

IMG-20120924-02339

Despite the drought last year, we were blessed with a bountiful harvest – including tomatoes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a snapshot of what we do with our maters. It is a true family effort – or I don’t know how I could do all.

When we first started doing this, I was COMPLETELY AMAZED at how many tomatoes it takes to create the same amount of tomato based products we used to buy from the store. We realized that we COULD NOT grow enough to provide the same “loot” in our pantry for one year. Because of that realization, we’ve scaled back on how much of it we eat, and we do our best to find healthier tomato sauces that we buy limited quantities of for our homemade pizzas. Thus reducing the amount of money we need to spend off-farm. This way, our energy goes toward the less time-consuming efforts like water bath canning whole tomatoes, juice, and our version of v(egetable)-8. We do make several canners full of tomato sauce, but can them in pints & they are treated like “gold”, lol. (I think last season furnished 10 pints for our pantry…) Normally, we focus on canning the whole tomatoes + juice for both ourselves and Mike’s parents, and his mom cooks down & cans the tomato sauce for all of us. (Group efforts are soooo nice!) LOTS of hours of stirring while it cooks down to the desired thickness, makes me feel a little protective of tomato sauce…and being SUPER conscious of not wasting it. These are good lessons that we are thankful to have learned. ๐Ÿ™‚

The biggest bulk of our maters are canned as whole tomatoes. (We are big soup/stew eaters, and we like a marinara sauce once in awhile, too. Whole tomatoes are perfect for those recipes.) Once the maters have been washed, we drop them in boiling water until the skin breaks – usually not more than one minute. Then we plunge them into ice water for quick cooling. The boys like this job & usually bicker over whose turn it is.

IMG-20120804-01815

My “station” is usually as the “skinner/chunker”. None of my boys like the messiness of this part, so by default, the job is mine. I don’t mind, though…my hands might be yucky, but I can still bark orders pretty good, lol… ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG-20120804-01817

IMG-20120804-01826

Mike is usually the “floater” and “jar-stufferer”. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG-20120804-01820

IMG-20120804-01821

IMG-20120804-01824

IMG-20120804-01823

IMG-20120804-01840

Last season we canned 48 quarts of whole tomatoes for our pantry and about half that for mom & dad next door. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG-20120804-01843

IMG-20120804-01844

When we are making juice/sauce & our v(egetable)-8, we don’t remove the skins. Just chunk the veggies so they fit into the juice attachment for our mixer, and it separates the seeds/skins for us. This is another task the boys don’t mind doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last season we canned 8 quarts of our v(egetable)-8 juice and 22 quarts of tomato juice for ourselves + some for next door.

IMG-20120827-02091

We also make several large batches of salsa & freeze it in 1 cup portions. Most of it gets devoured eaten fresh, but I think we managed to freeze 15 cups or so. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG-20120913-02237

2 thoughts on “Processing tomatoes

  1. Heather

    What a blessing to have helping hands! Great ideas for preserving tomatoes. I usually get stuck in the rut of just canning them chunked and don’t bother getting creative. I also hadn’t thought of freezing salsa. Duh. I bet it tastes so much better than canned! It looks like you had a terrific tomato haul.

    Reply
    1. Dawn Roberts Post author

      Lol. Yes, it is pretty yummy. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have attempted to can some in our experimentation, but have never been satisfied with the flavor… Since we are blessed with plenty of freezer space, we go that route. Saves on time, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s