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Monday, September 25, 2006

The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!!!!

Hello there! Tonight, I was attacked by killer tomatoes! My garden decided to give up every tomato on the vine in the last couple of days and if I wanted any canned tomatoes this winter, tonight was the ONLY night to process them. So, I went out and picked every last red one that were on the vines and there must have been a trillion, and I trucked them into my kitchen in a very large box. The big problem: There is no room to can these gifts from my garden.

Now, mind you, the spousal unit has commandeered the kitchen table as his workstation/study place/desk and there is not an inch of space that's not occupied by books, notebooks, rulers, protractor, a laptop, a calculator and a bunch of stuff he just stacks on it. NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES. Moving onto the counter, he has commandeered four feet out of 12 for his personal stuff, mail, keys, wallet, cellphone, paraphenallia he can not part with, receipts, more books...NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES. Then there is the sink, the dish drainer filled with yesterday's clean dishes (am I the only one with a messy kitchen? EEEK). NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES. That leaves me with the rest of the counter that holds the knife rack, the bread basket, a toaster, a blender (DH's),the coffee maker and a pan of brownies..OK, in unison...NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES!!!! So to process said tomatoes, I have a 2 foot counter on the kitchen island next to the cooktop. This space is the ONLY ROOM FOR THE TOMATOES. So, I sigh and begin the GREAT TOMATO BATTLE.

I trek down to the dungeon (humorlessly also known as the basement) to find the canner, jars, lids and rings. I am good for everything but the jar lids. I have 6. Only six lids which mean I can only can 6 jars of tomatoes tonight. BUT, I have a trillion tomatoes upstairs in a box and if I don't do them, then I might as well toss them into the compost. I decided I'd take my chances....

Back in the kitchen, my Aussie, Fraggles, decided to steal a few of the tomatoes as an after dinner snack. What can I say, he likes them. Only he doesn't eat the skin and he makes a general mess...so now, I have the goopy remains of a tomato snack on my kitchen floor...

I put the canner on the stove to start getting warm, I put another pot onto boil so I can skin the tomatoes. I get the canning book out to read how to process them and the book tells me that I have to BOIL the tomatoes prior to putting them into the jars only to be boiled again for 45 minutes. Well, I guess I will do this in batches...

I begin to skin and chop up tomatoes into hugh chunks. I fill up a big Pyrex bowl, another large mixing bowl and another smaller bowl with chunky tomatoes. Meanwhile, the sink is full of soapy water, jars, rings and lids. The water in the canner is getting hot but not anywhere near the boiling point. I decide to follow the instructions and boil the tomatoes, so I dump out the water in the pot I used to skin them, dump in all the chunky tomatoes and set it on medium so that they can be boiled once and then again in the jars. I let that go for a little while and the canner is good to go. Looking at the boiling tomatoes, I realize that as this cooks down, I have a lot of juice and almost no tomatoes. Looks like I am going to have tomato juice with pulp, instead of chunky tomatoes...hm-mmm. Well, that sucks. But I carry on...these tomatoes will NOT defeat me! I fill the jars and only get 3 out of that batch. Damn, that means I have to go through this entire process a second time! (Rinse and Repeat!) So 45 minutes later, in goes the second canning....and now, 3 hours later, I have only six jars of semi chunky tomato juice. I believe the tomatoes won and now, I need a drink!!!!

I guess I am NO Martha!

3 comments:

Von said...

It's been a lot of years since I put up tomatoes. I do remember the huge mess, but the taste of my sauces that winter was fabulous. One day I'll get ambitious and do it again. :D

Cathy said...

Hope you are not offended, but your post made me laugh. I could totally relate to this story!

Have fun at CATS!

Chelle said...

Ah Joanie, this gave me a great fit of giggles. I haven't put up tomatoes in ages, but it ALWAYS goes like this for me! Tee hee! Can't wait to hear about CATS, and from your previous post I hope the window dilema works out with the least amount of drama possible.