Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Ugh! I'm so restless lately.

I've had a couple of hours every night for the past week or so all to myself, and I've not done a damn thing that's worthwhile. What's wrong with me?

I'm burned out on every hobby. I just don't feel like knitting. I'm not in the mood to scrapbook and every page I do try to finish turns out really blah and unimpressive. My garden is... well, it's pretty much self sufficient now. All I have to do is water it every night and pick the vegetables that are ready. There aren't many weeds to pull, there's not any planting to be done anymore... I've been reading, but just sitting and reading is so dull- I need something to keep my hands busy. And I just finished a book so I'm bookless until library day tomorrow. I'm overwhelmed with the number of unfinished projects in piles around me that I just don't feel like finishing.

I'm bored!

<~~~a statement that rarely comes out of my mouth. I need a project. A big project. A fun project. Something creative, inspiring, something new. Something that will make me feel accomplished when I finish it. And something that's not terribly expensive. Any suggestions? (Because really, I need a new hobby, don'tcha think?) === I canned tomatoes yesterday (without any more exploded jars, thankfully.) We made tomato sauce the old fashioned way: slave labor.
The basic recipe (for anyone dying to can their own tomatoes...) You get about a pint of sauce per pound of tomatoes. This is a rough estimate. It's not worth the work unless you have at least five pounds (in my opinion. You're welcome to form your own opinion.)

Peel the tomatoes - drop them in boiling water for 10 seconds, plunge them into ice water for a minute or so, then slit the skins and peel them off. It's not hard, but takes some time.

Squish out the guts - slice your tomato in half, use a paring knife to cut out the core. Then squeeze the tomato until all the gooey stuff and seeds come out (some seeds left in are okay.) Do this over a bowl, and expect a lot of random streams of tomato guts to go flying in every direction. Cover your hair and wear an apron (I'm not exaggerating.) If you're doing this with a six year old (as I was) expect giggles. Put the gutless tomatoes into a bowl (in front of your six year old, if you have one handy.)

Squash the tomatoes - using your hands, squeeze the heck out of the tomatoes over and over again. You could use a potato masher, or even a blender for really fine sauce, but that's not nearly as much fun. If you have a six year old, this is where you employ them. Tell her it's brains, to be eaten with worm noodles come wintertime. ;o) Squish and squash until you have a fine soupy concoction in your bowl.

Cook the sauce - put the squished brains... err, tomatoes... into a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

There's your sauce. It's basically the same consistency as "Crushed Tomatoes" when purchased at the store.

To can:

Heat jars (Sterilizing is unnecessary based on the boiling time.)

Put 1 Tbsp lemon juice in the bottom of each pint jar (This is important!). Adjust for jar-size accordingly.

Fill jars.

Process in boiling water canner 40 minutes for pints. (Not adjusted for altitude.) Be sure jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water throughout processing time. Otherwise, you'll have to add on more time for any minutes that your jars weren't covered.

Tomatoes are a funny thing. They are scary to can and can cause botulism more easily than any other vegetable. If you open a jar later and anything at all seems wrong with it, throw it away. Better safe than sorry.

There you have it - canned tomatoes, from scratch. It's a lot of work, really, considering the price of tomato products at Wal Mart. But Great Value Crushed Tomatoes don't give you nearly the satisfaction as your own do. :o)

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