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Tomato canning season begins

It's a sunny day at the farmette, and I wish it would cloud over soon. It's supposed to rain. Here's hoping. So dry this summer.

Even the vegetable crops are suffering. Tomatoes are smaller and less robust. First pick was paltry in volume. But we had to do a batch or many of the first ones would have gone to waste.

I looked back, and six years ago, we had a bumper crop at this time. Six lovely pints of tomato sauce in one go.

Oh well, as Rob's mother said, you eat what you can and can what you can't. So we canned.

Over the ten years we've been here, Rob and I have refined the whole process so it's pretty much down pat.

I do the washing and chopping, and Rob runs the manual crank grinder. We got that after our first couple of summers doing everything the hard way, boiling and plunging the red lovelies in ice water, peeling and then saucing.

The new-fangled way saves a whole bunch of steps, because raw tomatoes go into the processor which gets rid of the skins and seeds (which go to compost), leaving only the juicy part. Quite efficient, really.

Then, it's a matter of cooking it down - for about three hours - to make a nice, thick sauce.

We're purists, so we don't add anything to the mix that goes into sterilized jars. Some add oregano, garlic and other Italian tastes for spaghetti. We like to keep it clean, so we can spice the canned sauce in other ways - for curry, for example. Rob does a mean curried chicken. Yum.

We were only able to get three pints out of this batch, and one fell over in the canner during the 35 minutes it took to process the jars. Cripes.

That doesn't happen very often, but we made the best of it, and did, indeed, have spaghetti with tomato and meat sauce for supper.

We'll have many more tomato canning sessions through the season, we hope. There's also tomato jam, chili sauce and tomato-apple chutney to make.

Looks like 2022 will be a bit less bountiful tomato-wise than years past. We'll still have enough for ourselves, friends and family. So fortunate.

Gratuitous cat photo this week is courtesy of Hobbes and Wilma. Wilma has been extra attentive since Hobbes had his mini-stroke. I think she's helping him mend.

Until next week.


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