Monday, August 16, 2010

Tomatoes

Should have done those tomaotes yesterday but I was not feeling very well at all so although I did stir myself to do the washing up and clean the kitchen and go to my friend's house to pick up the curtains and picture she was giving me that was about as much as I was able for.  However I did put labels on everything else I have processed and not labelled for the last few weeks.  It was really needed before I completely lost track of what was what.

I also peeled and de-stoned the apricots and de-stoned enough plums to make up a kilo of fruit and added that to the rumtopf along with 500g sugar and another bottle of rum.  My rumtopf (the actual container) is nearly full now so I won't be able to get much more into it.  I think I'll wait and add one or two apples and pears when the new ones hit the stalls in a couple of weeks.  And I put another kilo or so of plums into jars with sugar and gin.

Before going to bed then I knew that I needed to leave things a bit prepared for canning tomatoes or else I wouldn't do it at all.  So I took the tomatoes out of the bag they were in and laid them out on the table.  I was very glad I had done that because there was one squished one at the bottom of the bag which had already started to go mouldy and it would have affected others by this evening.  I also took out some jars and put them in the water bath canner all ready to go as soon as I got home from work.  And put a few large bowls of water in the fridge so that I would have cold water to help with skinning the tomatoes as well.

Of course by the time I got home from work I was exhausted and as it was raining I hadn't walked home, which would normally wake me up a bit.  So the first thing I did was sit down for an hour, which quickly became an hour and a half.  So it was half-eight before I did get up to start after all.  Oh well.  I filled the canner and put it on to start boiling the water, gave the jars a good clean in hot soapy water, rinsed and put them into the canner.  I started a pot of water boiling and took some of the cold water out of the fridge.  And started blanching the tomatoes.  I skinned them and also cut out the core (I'm calling it hulling but I'm honestly not sure if you only call it hulling if you're talking about strawberries - must look that up), going in batches of four or five tomatoes at a time, the next lot going into the hot water while I was skinning, then into the cold water for a few seconds while I was adding the next ones to the hot water and so on.  I did 2 kilos and it seemed like I had so many tomatoes I would have to can four or five batches so I decided to fill some jars and see where I was getting to.  2 kilos filled two and a half 1 litre jars - I was squishing them down a good bit though.  I've read a lot of different blogs and websites where people have a variety of ways of canning tomatoes (to squish or try to keep whole, to skin or not, to cook first or not etc, etc, etc.) and I think I'll just have to try a few different ways myself before I decided which is the right one for me.  For this batch, they were skinned, cored, mostly left whole but then squished into the jars a bit.  I added the juice of a large lemon to each jar and topped up with boiling water.  In total I had 4.2 kilos filling up 5 x 1 litre jars.  Here's a not great photo of the jars waiting to go into the water bath:

To the left, by the way, you can see the edge of my rumtopf (green rim above creamy bit with red flower).  Will have to find somewhere to keep it until christmas now.

What I found about this method of packing the tomatoes is that the hole where I cut out the core made for a lot of air bubbles.  So I'm inclined to think that chopping them up a bit could be better.  But that's for the next batch I suppose.  Given that I need to process these for 45 minutes and it was already quarter past ten before I got them into the canner, I will leave the rest until tomorrow.  I have 2.9 kilos left although I may appropriate some of them for a quiche instead.  Just checked and the water isn't boiling yet (half an hour after the jars went in) - looks like my new cooker isn't the best for canning work either.  It could be that it seems to be taking a very long time because I'm getting tired and want to go to bed.

2 comments:

fishinthewater said...

Hello! Came across your blog and was curious to find someone blogging about similar things to me but across the ocean. I spend a lot of time in Germany as well (have a sister there and many very close friends). Mostly wanted to link you to my recent posts on canning tomatoes, just to compare methods:
http://fishinthewater.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/canning-galore/

Best of luck!

Moonwaves said...

Hi,

Thanks for commenting. It's funny to go and read about someone else having done almost exactly the same thing as me but only a week earlier and so far away. Most of the blogs I read also seem to have lots of people who have far more time and help for canning. And yes, this time round I remembered to put on something that could get wet and put an apron on top of that and a teatowel under the chopping board in an effort to keep the tomato juice under control. Right, off to have a rummage around your archives now!