Yesterday was my first day off from working on my book. It was like I was bird flying free. The thing I wanted to do most was clean and can tomatoes. The girls wanted to help a young mother clean her home because she had a baby not too long ago, so my normal canning buddies were gone. I looked around the room and noticed two little boys who were looking for something to do. They were happy to know I needed them to join the canning crew! The evening before, the entire family set out to pick about three bushels of tomatoes. My friend, Debi Pearl had some extras, so we were blessed to pick more at her place.
When I can, I CAN! I do not do little batches everyday like some women do. I do like to get a big job done and then move on to other things. I guess I learned that method from the Amish and they are pretty practical!
After I cleaned the kitchen really well, detailing all my cabinets and scrubbing my floor, my husband said, "Why are you cleaning it before we start canning?" I reply, "Because I love cleaning and I love to have everything set before I start a big project."
He carried in one bushel and brought it to the sink and started washing tomatoes. As they were clean, he handed them to me for cutting. I set up a cutting board over a scrap bucket (the scraps were going to be fed to our piglets–nothing goes to waste on our farm). As my husband and I were working on the tomatoes we were talking about all kind of things. It felt like such a dream! I can't explain how sweet it was to spend that time working side by side.
Next thing you know, Junior comes along and says, "Can I wash the tomatoes, please?" Mark quickly steps aside as his little guy starts washing tomato after tomato and stacking them on my cutting board. Then I started talking with Junior and the conversation was just as sweet as before with his daddy. I thought, wow, this is the life.
Here is my cutting board. See how handy it is for working up the tomatoes? It is a great assembly line. Junior washes the tomatoes, I cut the cores out and cut them in quarters. Next I put the scraps into the bowl below and the good tomato pieces into a bigger bowl to the side.
We ended up with three large stock pots full of tomato sauce. I added my spices which are
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- chili powder
- celery seed powder
After I brought it to a boil, I added tomato paste to thicken it. Mark and I filled all the jars and water bath canned them out on our deck outside. That was nice to have an old turkey fryer burner set out there to keep all the heat and mess outside. Altogether we ended up with 52 quarts of delicious spaghetti sauce! It was about a 2 hour job with our amazing team work!