Friday, August 17, 2012

Tomato Days

Vespa, don't worry. This pot is not for dog stew.

I've long given up my Animal, Vegetable, Miracle dream of canning a year's worth of my home grown tomatoes, however, with a few tweaks, I can still get close. Since joining the Full Belly Farm CSA two weeks ago, I've scored 44-pounds of tomatoes for the sole purpose of canning. Last year's 50-lbs of tomatoes didn't last long enough, so I clearly need to up my game. One case a week is about all I can process, and my goal is 100-lbs of canned tomato goodness for 2012-2013.

Due to the new brewing habit, we have giant stainless steel pots scattered about the house (if anyone can think of a way to display these things in a tiny house, I'm all ears just like Vespa). One case of quartered tomatoes fits into a 16-gallon brew pot. The problem was that this pot is really thin, leading to my first batch of tomato sauce being slightly smoked and me having to spend most of my time scraping burnt tomato skins and seeds from the pot.

Separating the worm food from the sauce
 Lesson learned. Today's sauce is split into two batches using my trusty, heavy bottomed Staubs. No burning, minimal stirring, and easy clean up.

Two cauldrons of sauce
After a long hiatus from buying kitchen stuff, I purchased a pressure canner specifically for my tomato sauce endeavor. Unfortunately, the pressure canner is still in transit, so I won't be able to use it today.

Today marks the day I pulled up the first credible carrot. It's large and sweet, but since it was in heavy clay soil, I snapped of the top when trying to pull it out. Hopefully, no one heard me swear like a sailor. I had to dig the rest of the carrot out. The other carrots are bedded in sandy, loose soil, so hopefully this is the only carrot casualty. I noted in my garden journal that I need to double dig that bed and add some more compost so this doesn't happen again.


The garden candy, i.e. sungold tomatoes and sugar peas, is abundant. We're having salads every other day with greens and fruit all from our tiny garden. I started weighing the peas, and we're getting about 1 pound a week out of our 6 plants.

Pickle obsession, something I'm sure I'm not suffering from alone during summer, has hit hard. Kosher dill pickles, pickled eggs, and dilly beans reside in our refrigerator. There's still crazy amounts of homebrew laying about, I just made 3 cups of spicy beer mustard, and I have a crock full of red cabbage sauerkraut. All the pickles can be pieced together to form dinner, especially when paired with a roasted chicken or pork stew cooked over the weekend. 

Due to summer food canning activities and a concerted effort to eat in more often, the two sweaters on my needles are hardily touched. I only have 1.5 sleeves to knit on my Vitamin D, so I should really have at it this weekend. Also, to tempt me to eat and drink in more, I bribed myself with a pretty Japanese mixing glass and bar spoon from Umami Mart. Yeah, I never heard of a mixing glass until recently, but the obsession with Japanese barware came fast and strong. The boy had to listen to me agonize over the mixing glass purchase for almost 2 months, so he was happy when I finally bought one. Am I alone in torturing myself so much before actually making a purchase? My fear, especially with things I become obsessed with, is that the fascination will fade and the purchase will just sit there unused and unloved. Yeah, it's probably just me.


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