Monday, August 18, 2014

How to can with a full-time job and lots of other stuff to do

Basically, in starts and fits. After having been sick last week, which meant the tomatoes I bought at the market just sat in their bag in the hallway all week I really needed to get something done with them this weekend, whether I felt like it or not. One unexpected "benefit" of my cycle yesterday was that sitting down for a lazy afternoon wasn't as appealing as it might normall be on a grey Sunday afternoon, since sitting down at all for more than a few minutes was kind of painful.

So I headed into the kitchen and tackled the bag of tomatoes. I'm very glad that the temperatures had dropped a fair bit last week as I ended up only having to throw out two of them and cut parts of three others. Not bad overall - I had bought six kilos and ended up with just over five and a half. Just sliced in half and spread on two roasting trays with some chopped up onions, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, sugar and olive as per the recipe for roasted tomato passata in the River Cottage Preserves book. I got that lot into the oven and set about making an apple tart to bring to the pub quiz.

It all worked out well really, got the pastry made, then left that cooling while I peeled and chopped the apples. Once that was done I rolled out the pastry, assembled the tart and then left that to rest while I took care of doing the washing-up and hunted for my mouli. At that stage the tomatoes had been in the oven nearly an hour so out they came and the tart went in. It did take me nearly half an hour to get all of the tomatoes through the mouli and I ended up with close to 5 litres and just enough time to wash the roasting trays before it was time for the tart to come out of the oven.

I didn't have enough time to can the passata before leaving for the quiz however and decided I could do that this evening. Completely forgetting that I had book club straight after work this evening. Still, I made it there, had a lovely meal, chatted a bit about the book (which I still haven't finished and have to admit, am finding kind of boring and annoying but that's just the way it goes sometimes with book club) and then, a bit later than planned, around half-nine, made my excuses and rushed home. Put the passata on to boil and reduce a bit, washed some jars and then set the water canner full of water to boil.

While waiting for all of that to come to a boil I made myself a cup of tea and phoned my sister. Ended up on that call for a bit longer than planned, which is how I found myself at quarter past eleven heading back into the kitchen to fill jars with passata. It's now ten past midnight and I think the water canner is just nearly about to reach a boil, so another half an hour or so and I'll be able to get the jars out and then I can head to bed and will count off the pops of the lids sealing (used Leifheit jars with the two-part lids this time, rather than the older glass lid jars) as I fade off to sleep. It might seem like madness but if I want to do crazy things like canning some of my own food and still live a typical urban office worker life, that's just the way these things go. And there's even enough passata left to have with some pasta tomorrow for dinner. It's nice when things work out.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

It sometimes seems impossible to me to strike out from the standard officer-worker life. It's great that you managed to get this done in between so many other things.