Wednesday, August 13, 2014

tomatoes to feast on

After a few bad luck years with tomatoes we have surely been blessed this year.  We have more than once filled our back picnic table with delicious red fruits fresh from the garden.  I have been canning my little heart out and not complaining a bit about it.  It's amazing what things seem to overwhelm and something like this does not.  Even though I was pulling jars out of a canning bath at nine thirty last night.  I have put up five batches of salsa, three batches of tomato juice, two batches of pasta sauce and two batches of diced tomatoes... and I'm not done yet!  I haven't actually had enough tomatoes to can diced tomatoes (not to mention juice) since 2010.  A home canner will begin to ration the goods.  To this day I have one jar of homegrown diced tomatoes left in the basement pantry... just in case.  I love the whole process from starting my own seeds for the garden, planting the garden, hoeing, weeding, nurturing, picking and putting up.  It's all so lovely when it goes as planned and truly takes several months.  I start seeds in late March and plant the plants in May then now it's August and they are producing like crazy.  And the other thing is (I'd better watch my bragging) that the tomatoes are stellar with no rot, very little bad spots and no splitting.  If you don't believe me... see for yourself.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful gardening and canning season!

My... what beautiful peppers you have!

Looks like a tomato party!

Canning salsa last night.

The crushed and diced tomatoes.

Please don't think that all is perfect in my little canning world.  I filled a jar with tomatoes that apparently wasn't hot enough to handle the hot tomatoes and when I picked it up the bottom fell off.  I had tomato and juice in the drawer and cabinet and floor.  Luckily it was only a pint jar!

And finally... a recipe.  This is the recipe I used for two batches of tomato juice that I have full intentions of enjoying in a bloody mary on some cold winter morning or day.  They will also be used as back up for soups and such.  This recipe has just the right amount of spice and heat and once in a glass of ice all that is needed is the vodka and Worcestershire sauce and maybe a little salt.  Or you can leave out the vodka all together and have an amazing nutritious drink.  Enjoy!

By the way... for my batches of this I used my father-in-law's banana peppers which have a lot of heat this year and I used my Vitamix to chop my peppers, onions and celery.  What a life saver!  And always remember to use gloves when handling peppers.

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