Friday, August 28, 2009

Tomato Time

The tomatoes on the patio are really starting to come along, and while I am still skeptical that they will ever get red, they are growing in size. This week canning with Annie, we decided to embark on tomato hijinks. We bought a flat of Roma tomatoes at one of the farm stands and began our canning. First we sorted them out by size and washed them all.

We then set out peeling and coring all the tomatoes. I had forgotten my Blue Book at home and had to resort to the USDA guidelines on line. We packed our quarts, but did not pack them full enough. We were not making sure to drain off the excess liquid while packing in the fruits. This resulted in floating tomatoes in our jars. We also left too much headroom as well as being too excited and forgetting to wipe off the rims of the jars. This resulted in substandard canning, and we had to open all the jars and redo all the work we did.

Luckily we had only done a third of the packing. A call to my Mom was made, and the canning guru led us through what we did wrong and how to improve on our poor results. We fixed up the quarts and went from four quarts to three. When we moved onto the pints, we packed them full and made sure to drain off the liquid as we packed so that they were very full. We also got juice on the counter quite a bit in the attempt to fully pack the jars. Sometimes we went overboard.

In the end we had two quarts of tomatoes and 7 pints of tomatoes packed and a few quarts of the cooking juice with lots of tomato goodness. I took five of the pints and left the juice and the rest of the pints and quarts for Annie.

After a dinner break, we moved onto the golden cherry tomato and ginger jam. (Recipe can be found in The Joy of Cooking post New Joy of Cooking era) It was something we were really excited about and required a two day cooking process. Annie plumped and steeped our tomatoes the night before. We then went through the cooking and jamming process for this. It turned out really gingery, but I can see it mellowing out a bit after cooling and being in the jars for a little while.

The only bad thing about this recipe was that it only made three half pint jars. If we do this one again, I think we would double it at least for the effort you had to make for this jam.

This weekend I am going to attend the Eat Real Fest in Oakland. I find it interesting that canning has become something that the "in" crowd is getting into. I guess my Mother and Grandmother are more foodie than I ever thought. The film festival continues around here as well. Hopefully we can clear off more DVR space as well as let me get some hand sewing done on those belts I am still working on. Signing off for the week. I look forward to reviewing the festival for you on Monday.

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