Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stocking Up…

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Yeah, Canning Season is HERE!!!!  I am being completely sarcastic… I really have mixed feelings on canning but I LOVE having my tomatoes all through the winter to be used in stews, soups, chilies and sauces – you can tell a difference I promise!  Canning is not all that complicated but it is time consuming and you do need to make sure everything is clean – botulism is horrible and really just something you really don’t want. 
1. To start with put on some good music or if you’re anything like me – you might listen to a college lecture on the Peloponnesian War or some other Book on CD.
2. Next rinse you jars and put them in the oven on 325 and let them dry – once they are dry sit them on a towel on a counter and let them cool down to room temp. 
3.  Next gather lots of pots and bowls – I am kinda kidding here… You need a compost bowl, a bowl to quick cool the tomatoes, and a bowl to put your tomatoes into as they wait to be canned – you will also need a Presto Pressure Canner and a large stock pot of boiling water.
4. Gather your mess of tomatoes and start plopping them in the boiling water and wait for the skins to split, once they have split you will place them in your quick cool bowl full of cold water and maybe some ice cubes (I am a big pooh so I need to make sure I can handle the tomatoes without getting burned by hot liquid). 
5. Once you can handle the tomatoes, peel the skins, cut off the stem, any of the bad on the tomatoes and then cut into chunks – this will go into your waiting bowl (make sure it is a big bowl!!).  Keep this up until your jars are cool.  (If your jars aren't cool - at least to touch - you will bust them - I promise)
6. Once your jars are cool you will need to put 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice (not the concentrate!!!) and 1 teaspoon of salt (iodized or pickling) then start cramming your tomatoes in their new homes, leave about a half inch of head space.  Now it is time to start getting your canner going (follow your manufacturer instructions here as all canners are different).
The whole process by myself takes about 3 hours to get 6 quarts so plan accordingly… 
I know it seems like a lot but it is well worth it to have a bowl of Chili or Beef Stew and a crackling fire when it is snowing outside!!!  I love this time of year because I am preparing for my favorite time of year – Autumn!!!
Happy Canning!!!

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