The long Labor Day weekend was the perfect time to start canning tomatoes. We had nothing in particular planned, and my family had nothing in particular planned, so it was as good a time as any to organize those extra hands under the guise of a “Family Fun Weekend” and take care of the garden business.
My detailed itinerary for the day went to the wayside when, by noon, we hadn’t accomplished a darn thing yet. We managed to get 8 pints of green beans canned and 2 very delicious homemade pizzas made on Saturday. But it was okay because I got to spend the day with my family and my favorite Aunt Karol (not to be confused with any of my other favorite Aunts). Karol is my mom’s sister and she is an amazing cook. She’s logical, ever-patient, practical, and is always eager to offer hints, tips and advice. She brought me a(nother) pressure canner and a large number of jars that are sized between a pint and a quart, which I had no idea even existed but always thought would be a great size for spaghetti sauce. And now I have them!
Sunday got off to a slow start, but before we knew it we had 10 pints of salsa, 9 three-cup jars of spaghetti sauce, 4 quarts of pickles and 5 pints of diced tomatoes (and the 8 pints of greeen beans from the day before). It’s amazing what you can get done when you have 1 1/2 extra sets of hands. Yes, just a half-set of hands. You see, my mother was working some cucumbers over the madolin blade while remeniscing about her mother never, ever cutting herself on a mandolin, and low and behold, Mother sliced off a huge chunk of her index finger on her right hand. She spent most of the day stirring stuff.
Of particular significance on the day was my newly formed relationship with the pressure canner. Where has this been all my life? I’ve always ever used a water-bath canner, and in fact I own two of them, but I doubt strongly that I’ll ever use either of them again. The pressure canner uses less water, is faster, and gets the job done just as well as a water-bath canner. I can’t believe I feared it this long.
Overall, I had a great weekend with my family, I got a lot of things accomplished, and most importantly, I have many pints and quarts of homegrown food socked away for fall, winter and beyond! There are hundreds of tomatoes still out there on the vine, so the Adventures in Canning have only just begun!