What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tomatoes in real time and My Summer Kitchen

I had several epiphanies this year in regards to tomato sauce making and just canning in general.   The biggest one was the day I decided to do the canning work in a makeshift "summer kitchen".  Yeah-so what if it was just two sawhorses and some boards.

I have a lovely large, centralized space to work, instead of utilizing small bits of every counter around the kitchen (and then walking back and forth from one to another a million times.)

I can enjoy the beautiful sunshine and last warm days instead of being cooped up in a kitchen, pining for them.

I can keep a better eye on my twenty-mile-an-hour children when I am outside with them.


All the seeds, juice and mess that inevitably splash all over the kitchen happily splashes in the grass-where I do NOT have to mop.

It has worked splendidly well for every every canning occasion thus far.  I can't believe it has taken me this long to figure it out.


You know what braids and bandana days mean...
Me without makeup.  Brave girl.
 I noticed earlier this month that my tomato plants got late blight and began rotting.  I gathered up as many tomatoes as I could and set them to ripen away from the garden. This photo was from a week ago or so~ most of them were ready for saucing today PLUS, I was able to get a whole other batch (several large bowls) of tomatoes from the garden one last time.  Busy, busy.

I had help, you see.   Made things so much more pleasant.  Even if he made me wet.


Chickens love canning days.

The two other things I figured out this year were:
1)  If you freeze your tomatoes first, they go through the strainer so much more easily!  Also- you can choose when to can without fearing them going bad--meaning, you can wait for a cooler day when you want to warm up the house.  The other benefit, of course, is that if you have smaller batches, you can continue freezing until you have enough for a LARGE batch.  I would rather get everything out for a large batch then to get everything out several times for smaller ones.  Finally, the water in the tomatoes separates so you can strain the pulp without nearly as much water, leaving a lot less water to boil down!


2) My green peppers always fizzle out before my tomatoes are ready so I would always buy green peppers to put in my salsas and spaghetti sauces.  THIS year, however, I dehydrated my peppers!  Then, when it was time to make sauce, I threw a bunch in and by the time my sauce was thickened, the peppers were rehydrated and lovely.  And no need for storebought!

I don't know why it has taken me so many years to reach these conclusions.  I am a slow learner, apparently.
This picture right here is of the kind that are nothing special, but you just KNOW are going to melt your heart twenty years from now.  Or even ten.  Awww, little bitty  Judah.   I love you so.

Ahhhh....it felt good to sit down and write this post.  I'll be back later with my to-do list for today.

How is your day going today?  What'cha up to?


Pam said...

You are an inspiration. I enjoy all your posts very much. Its funny because I am doing tomatoes today too.... only just a big batch for spaghetti sauce for dinner, not to can yet... I am not quite ready to can, but am hoping to in the next week. I think your dried pepper idea sounds like a great idea, and as far as it "taking you a long time to figure this stuff out..." I would say your are far beyond your years. I am 51 and and have been canning for years, but nothing on the scale that you do. You definitely inspire us all with how you tackle things and accomplish so much. Thanks for the post.


Bobbi Anderson said...

im sick : ( your inspiring however!

Leah T. said...

Freezing the tomatoes and dehydrating the green peppers are wonderful ideas! And I've been plotting for a few months now about how to create a summer kitchen of sorts when we get moved to the new house. The house had a summer attached to it at one time but it had to be taken down before work could be done on the siding. Oh how I wish it had been salvageable.

As for what we're up to, Scott and I have made 3 batches of soap this week, one each evening. We hope to get two more done before the week is over.

Looking forward to seeing your To Do list!

Terri said...

That is BRILLIANT!!! I have that same exact press and what a mess I always make. I end up cleaning up juice from everywhere. Also, I never thought to freeze them ahead and do them all at once. I always end up doing them in drips and drabs all summer. Thanks for the tips, Rebecca!

Rebecca said...

Thank you Pam! That means a lot.

Bobbi~ feel better!

Leah~ I hope to give soap a good start in the next week or two. I really should wait until after the Granary is complete. But soapmaking is so much more exciting! (And it needs to cure before Christmas!) I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind.

1- Do you use the same soap recipe for most of your soaps and just vary the scents and additives or do you use completely different recipes?

2- What do you use for molds? Did you buy them? Did you make them?

3- What are your very favorite soaps you make (the scents and things?)

4- Would you be willing to share your favorite soap recipe with me?

I borrowed a book from the library called Smart Soapmaking and it is wonderful- except it is an out of system loan so I only end up getting it for a week- which totally stinks.

Terri~ I was super excited to make my discovery too! You know what? when I am all done, I even wash all the dishes out there by filling up one of the big bowls with hot soapy water. And then, they dry out there! No leaning towers of canning dishes in my kitchen! Perfect! (and, you're welcome!)

Leah T. said...

I'm more than happy to answer your questions. :D Should I do it here, in an email, or in a letter? Let me know and I'll get right on it. One of these days I'll do a post on my blog about soapmaking, too.

Rebecca said...

As much as I would love a new letter, I would want these answers faster so I am thinking, whenever you have a free moment, you can send me something on the computer. Whether it is in email form or here does not matter to me.

I am thinking about putting an order in to mountain rose herbs for some essential oils and such. I have lavendar, tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint oils now. What would you find to be the most important ones on hand? (Yes, I realize that is ANOTHER question.) Surry.


Leah T. said...

No problem, Rebecca. I really don't mind the questions. I'll send an email to you , with links and such, this afternoon. :)

Margo said...

love your summer kitchen! I'm scheming on how to get one for next year. My husband and I have some ideas, and I'm searching around for some more too. Your tomato photos are lovely, too.