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

Friday, September 12, 2014


Beautiful orange and red bulbs on shriveled brown naked stalks.   That is essentially the state of my tomato beds.  And the state of my living room is something like this: beautiful tomatoes of all different stages of development sitting upon crisp white window panes in order to bask in the ripening sun.

(This is what happens when one sends young children out to harvest RIPE tomatoes.)

Upon the advice of several friends and the ease with which the task is accomplished, I've decided to can more whole tomatoes in jars this year and see how I like it.  Previously, I would make a few batches of salsa and sauce the rest of the tomato harvest.  Canning whole tomatoes is much easier than either of those and really just consists of washing the fruit, cutting off the bad spots/stem, shoving them in jars and giving them a nice hot bath.

Spaghetti sauce is a bit more time consuming...there is cutting the tomatoes into smallish chunks, putting them through the food strainer, preparing seasonings/onions/peppers, boiling it all down for hours, adding store-bought tomato paste to thicken and then water-bathing the jars.

Canning whole tomatoes is much easier and faster in the short run.  But will it be as easy and fast when dinner is fast approaching and I have 20 minutes to get a pizza in the oven or spaghetti on the table?  

That has yet to be determined.

Home canned spaghetti sauce has always been one of those homemade 'convenience foods' and I certainly don't want to lose that!

One thing I know for sure- canning whole tomatoes requires MANY more canning jars and much more space for storage.  I have completely filled my whole canning cupboard at this point.  The bottom shelf in my kitchen is also full.  The top shelf can't be used for full jars because it becomes too heavy and begins to distort.  So I have reached the point that always comes around this time where I must be creative with storage.

Bookcases?  On the stairs?  Under beds?  On our nightstands?  

One never knows what may happen when one gets desperate.


Rhonda said...

Great post! Every photo made me stop and look close and smike

Shanzanne said...

My very favorite salsa uses canned whole tomatoes. Add a jar with juice (the equivalent of a 28 oz can) to the blender with 1/4 an onion, a whole habanero pepper (seeds removed if desired) the juice of a whole lime, cilantro and salt to taste. Blend up. Yum! Its very hot with the seeds but so good you can't stop going back for more!

Ulli said...

I love the 'maters on your winders. They're like red jewels. Your posts always make me smile. Such a lovely place in which you live--and what a life. Hard work, yes, but the lessons your children are learning are priceless.

Abigail said...

Oh, this is so dumb. I just came to look and finally comment, but 2 minutes later, I have to go to bed.

One post. One comment. (In 50 days, I'll be all caught up!) Love the sight of those rubies piled in every room!

Also, when I can tomatoes, I do it the Nancy Johnson way, which is to fill the jar and then smush the tomatoes down with your fingers (or a spoon, if you're Matt-Newman-Sanitary) when it's full. This not only makes room for tomatoes to fit in the jar but also eliminates the need for adding extra hot water to the jar at the end, as the juice from the tomatoes themselves fills in all the cracks. Then, when you use what's in the jar, you can just dump the whole thing in without straining out the diluting water. You also use fewer jars for the same amount of tomatoes. The downside is that it's not as pretty. :) I usually do one or two jars of unsmushed tomatoes with the added hot water to take to the fair.

That's all. There's my loooong one comment, an unsolicited soliloquy, compliments of Nancy Johnson. Hope your first week went well! See you (and your tomato-stained fingers) on Sunday, Lord willing!

Abigail said...

p.s. Don't tell my children I wrote "dumb!" ;)

Abigail said...

p.p.s. ...MORE tomatoes to fit in the jar... Sorry. My editor's already asleep.

Amanda said...

There is so much satisfaction in a shelf brimming with full jars! I love it!

Anonymous said...

My tomato plants look just like your's...covered with tomatoes and brown leaves and stalks...I was afraid it was late blight so I picked most of the tomatoes off this morning both red and green....I see a big batch of relish in my future. I never can whole tomatoes anymore because of space...I whack them in my food processor and can puree instead. God give you the strength you need to get all that food put up...as always your pics are beautiful....sunflowers are one of my favorites! Janet

Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias said...

Our new favorite way to have spaghetti sauce is to add a can of pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree. It thickens up the sauce nicely and takes that super tangy tomato flavor that my kids don't like away. Super yummy and they are getting extra veggies!!

Abigail said...

Is this a record? If not, I have more postscripts I could whip out. :)

I'm canning today and while I started peeling the tomatoes, I remembered your brief "how-to" of canning whole tomatoes in this post and ran in here [to waste time] leave another comment. Do you blanch and peel them? I do, and I only ask because I know I'm one of those friends-on-the-whole-tomato wagon who gave you an enthusiastic thumbs-up, and I don't want you to hate me if you don't prefer skins and you've canned a million point two jars! If you do skin them, ignore my comment and call me a big ol' dummy. (I'll allow such strong language as long as you do it out of earshot of children yours and mine...)
Big Ol' Dummy

Ruth McLean said...

Hello! Ruth from cmomb.com's forum. I was viewing old discussions and came across your blog. Your kids are getting so big!! You have a great eye for photography. I am enjoying your blog.

Catie said...

I've only canned two things - applesauce and spaghetti sauce. And I know applesauce doesn't really count! I hated canning the spag. sauce and think that just doing tomatoes and even just tom. sauce would be so much easier! Spag sauce didn't seem worth the time. But I don't really know. :)