- Oct 15, 2017
- Reaction score
- mid-Michigan, USoA
Sorry, her operation grossed me out.
I have had 5 jars of tomatoes go bad on me in 25 years of canning.
i can recall two or three from the recent years when we had a lot of strange inclusions in the tomatoes, but that's out of several thousand jars. Mom's been canning tomatoes most of her life and i've been around to help close to 30 of those years. we've broken more jars than those that have spoiled by a large margin. the other failures were just a few that did not seal that had to be pulled out and discarded - the rest of the jars in those batches were fine.
i can't even recall exactly when something like that happened but it was in the time before i did all the filling and sealing up tasks like i'm doing now. i am a creature of habit and routine and it gives Mom a break to do other things so it's working well for us. she can do her quilting and is happy to help with the coring and peeling. i try to do all the difficult tomatoes and what i call surgery on the worst ones so she doesn't have to deal with them. it's been good and easy for her and for me too. i'm sure glad we did downsize because with everything else coming in at this time more than 130-150 quarts would be a bit too much to deal with. i also do most of the weeding and picking. this year Mom picked only the last time when i was ready to call it done. that turned into being an extra 32 quarts. eek!
i do wash my hands and i don't stick my hands in things and muck about just because, but still i'm not worried - the past half dozen years i do act as quality control because Mom may miss small bits of this and that which i will find when i'm warming things up and stirring. so far it seems to be going ok. Mom has another 25 years on me or so... we didn't garden and do much canning while i was away and working and travelling but once the farm stand down the road shut down Mom didn't want to buy grocery store tomatoes for canning so she started gardening here and expanded her little corner garden of 15x15feet into the ones we have now. it's been well worth it.
just the two of us here and with 15 beefsteak type tomato plants coming ripe mostly in a large enough amount we rarely keep up with them by just eating. a few for the first week and those that trail after, but generally we're canning batches of 14-24 quarts at a time and some days i may contemplate doing more than one batch when we're in the thick of it. in the years before i started writing down things we'd planted over 30 tomato plants and i was doing 50 or more quarts a day. one of those years we planted a lot of romas and that was a one time thing we never did again. then we did mostly beefsteak types the next year and i was over 300 quarts of just tomato chunks and tomato juice alone let alone the pickles, beets and bean salads i'd made. a few years later we had to give a lot of that stuff away because nobody was eating that much and it was a waste of time and effort so i scaled back to where we are at now with 15 plants. i wanted to only do 12 this year but Mom grabbed three more when i wasn't looking...
after all the tomato worms last year this year i was amazed to have found not a single one. it was so dry and hot for so long perhaps that was what kept them down. i thought for sure i may have missed a few or perhaps the birds found and ate them.
ok, i'm done meandering now... haha!
Good news--canned 7 quarts this week, and the total in pantry is 50, so every thing else I can is gravy.
Family is devouring every tomato I harvest.
both of my brother's only want a few of very specific sizes and states of ripeness - they're not tomato fiends like we are (i can eat a whole tomato and call it dinner or lunch). they'll take a few jars after they're canned but generally do not cook or eat like we do. my nephew doesn't even like large chunks of tomatoes. *SMH* i don't get that at all... pasta and canned tomato chunks is a regular simple meal for us and one friend will take six quarts every few weeks and eat that or they'll use those to make other things (he's vegetarian but his wife will make goulash or other things from them too). it all works out. plus of course we'll use the tomato chunks when making soups, stews, other Italian American dishes or even in Sloppy Joes or on salads. they add a whole other layer of flavor to a lot of dishes. which is why we really enjoy growing them and we both enjoy the smell and flavor of them even as we're canning them and even after doing that for most of a month i'll still be tasting bits of them as we're going along through a batch of peeling and chunking. i do it because i love 'em but also because it acts as a part of quality control that i have a sense of how acidic or sweet a batch is... at least that is what i keep telling myself.