And then it hit me...I would "can" some of those tomatoes to enjoy later in the year!
Now, "canning" has been a tradition with the women in my family for many years. I can remember growing up, watching my mother "put up" the fresh vegetables each summer my grandparents would bring her from their huge gardens. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure we even bought many store bought cans of vegetables during my childhood; the pantry was lined with glass jars.
When I got married and started my own family, there was no time (or so I thought) for planting a garden or canning vegetables. Keeping up with four children, ages six and under, was a big enough job for me! However, in the season of life I now find myself, I have come to enjoy gardening and decided to try my hand at canning as well.
As I prepared to can my tomatoes, I searched for a couple of recipes that I thought would fit my family well. The first one I chose was a SALSA recipe that a relative had given Caitlin:
SALSA RECIPE: (Makes 1/2 gallon)
* 1 whole head of garlic chopped fine
* 2 yellow onions chopped
* 4-5 jalapenos seeded and chopped fine
* 6 T oil
* 6 T white vinegar
* 3 T Accent (used to retain color)
* 3 T salt
* 3 large cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes OR 28 oz. fresh tomatoes
Heat together oil, vinegar, salt, Accent and garlic. Bring to boil. Take off heat and cool. In large bowl mix together all ingredients. Stir until well blended. Let sit for 2 hours and keep refrigerated (if you are NOT canning).
ITEMS NEEDED FOR CANNING:
READY, SET, GO...
Now that you have your recipe and tools to begin the canning process, it is time to prepare your ingredients and jars.
THE CANNING PROCESS:
Put the seals and lids on the jars.
Now, you will place the salsa filled jars back into a large pot of boiling water. Keeping the water 1 inch above the top of the jars and boil for 45 minutes. I kept another pot of boiling water on the stove as well to pour additional water in the pot to keep the level right.
You will use the tongs to remove the jars from the pot of boiling wast and then listen for the "Pop, Pop, Pop" symphony as each jar lid becomes sealed!
Now, that wasn't too difficult, was it? If you can follow directions, then you too can "put up" some fresh vegetables to be used later in the year! However, remember that canning is not a "quick" process. Plan an activity like this on a day when you have nothing else to do. OH...and if you just want to try the SALSA RECIPE, just make it as written and in a few hours you can be enjoying some pretty AMAZING salsa!