Tomatoes and Traditions

Friday, August 17, 2012

There are so many traditions that we have, and one of them is canning. Every year I can remember my mom (and grandma and aunts etc) have made the most delicious jams and syrups, and pickles and sauces, and veggies and fruits. If we couldn't eat it fast enough we canned it so it wouldn't go to waste! The garden would just overflow, or it would be in season and super cheap and so we canned it to eat it latter when the garden wasn't producing. 

I don't like pickles, or every time my mom would spend the day canning those I had to be out of the house. The smell drove me outside into fresh air. 

I was never really able to help, I don't know if she didn't have patience to teach me or didn't trust me with a knife or boiling hot liquids...But now that I'm older, more patient, my hands better able to handle a knife I can actually can myself. And now that I have a husband, a home to store things in, and we're trying to grow our little family I have a reason to can food in order to preserve it. 
So I bought this lugg of tomatoes off of Elm street from a little fruit stand for $4. They're "canning" tomatoes, so basically if you don't use them today or tomorrow they'll be to far gone. They're squishy, and you probably don't want to just put some salt and rice vinegar on it and take a big bite. A lug looks like this.
 This ginormous box. $4. 
Jars, reusable. The screw tops reusable till they get too rusty or damaged. The only thing you have to continue to buy are the lids, which are a one time use. Start up cost is pretty big, but not to bad. In the end, you have a full day spent with your mom, talking and laughing and getting covered in tomato bits, plus 12 quarts and 12 pints of tomatoes that will last goodness knows how long? And really, what did it cost? 
All the jars!!! Cleaned and ready to go, so pretty.
 Peeling is so easy. Just 2 minutes in boiling water then dumped in cold water and the skin just peels right off!
Salt and apple cider vinegar, really? It's that easy?
 Just canning thingy only holds 7 quarts.
 It kind of looks like muscles and veins, almost like hearts shoved into a jar...Not in a morbid way, more like a scientific way...
First batch done! And while we wait...

Isn't this place beautiful?
By the lake...
Very green...
On our way to see Grandma. 

What a great day. I love this tradition. So fun, so productive, so fruitful. 

Remember to make all of your traditions with your family special, and memorable, and purposeful. Even the little ones like taking pictures on the first day of school, saying family prayer and having family home evening, waking up early on Saturday mornings and getting donuts and helping dad load the truck with wood as he cut it. Camping at Pismo for a week. Every summer for the past 8 years? Or more? That's one of the best ones.

Life is so good.