Tomato Madness

This weekend my husband took Jellybean all by himself to the Kansas State Fair and to see his side of the family. You guys….just between you, me, and the blog….I haven’t had a weekend alone in my own house for THREE YEARS. Since before Jellybean was born, for real. ¬†I’ll let that sink in….and with the recent sleep jihad by Jellybean (we have been to a doctor and we all agree that he’s having legitimate allergy/sinus/bloody nose pain and issues….my baby has to have very minor surgery and it breaks my heart but it will help him and Lord knows we ALL need to sleep better)

But I digress, I had almost the whole weekend! Jellybean got me up multiple times between 4 and 7 am the night before so I decided to be industrious after they hit the road. I pulled seven or eight gallon bags of tomatoes frozen from our summer garden and started simmering tomato sauce. This is most the ingenious thing my grandma taught me. Since my tomatoes didn’t set enough at one time to make batches of sauce we freeze them in bags after being washed and de-stemmed. When you pull them out and dunk them in warm water the skins slough right off and the flesh can go right into the cook pot. There is no blanching or peeling….its amaze-balls!

It was hot and messy but in the end I made 3 1/2 pints of super hot jalapeno salsa for the hubby. And then 12 pints of plain tomato sauce for cooking. I’m sooo happy to be filling my pantry with these goodies for a fresh pick me up mid-winter!

I did a fair bit of knitting as well while the sauce was simmering. I’ll show you that later this week….stay tuned!

Happy Knitting!!

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Canning Day

I had some rare toddler free time thanks to the miracle that is a friends sleepover. I decided to put my butt in gear! I harvested fresh basil from the garden and made some yummy pesto! I froze this batch into little discs to pull out this winter.


And I picked five lbs of apples for making jelly. I was a little disappointed that after cooking I only got four cups of juice when the jelly recipe called for seven. Jam and jelly require precise measuring so I had to fudge a little and used some of apple sauce pulp mixed with some purified water to get to seven cups of liquid. The jelly is very cloudy as a result and set very very firm. I’m definitely going to taste this before sharing with anyone…

I had been cleaning out the freezer and found four gallon sized bags of last years tomatoes. I decided to cook them down into sauce. I managed to get eight whole pints!

The house was very warm all day and I ended up running the dishwasher three times but it was very nice to stock my pantry and feel like I accomplished something off my list!

Holy Crap…More Tomatoes

I must be a masochist…or really love my husband. I’m peeling, blending, cooking, and canning 6 more gallon bags of homegrown tomatoes today. All so I can feed his salsa addiction over the winter and possibly give salsa out as Christmas gifts…

At least this cooking day I invested in a stool for the kitchen to rest my swollen preggo feet. Kind of a fool me once fool me twice kind of epiphany, lol.

This should be the last hurrah for my canner this summer and then I’m going to KNIT ALL THE THINGS until jellybean arrives!

Happy Saturday!

Freezer Fill-Up

My nesting seems to involve making sure we have food after Jellybean arrives. I previously talked about canning tomatoes and apples, and my adventures have continued!

This past three day weekend I added to the freezer and pantry!

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Eight crock pot meals of the chicken variety. I used this pin/blog post from Pinterest for those interested.

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I turned some beef neck bones into rich beef broth (frozen in freezer safe ball jars) and there was even enough beef bits for two BBQ sandwiches!

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Then I turned these pots into 9 more pints of tomato sauce. And not pictured was four pans of beef and three cheese lasagna! I used my own recipe but everything is fully cooked and so we just have to thaw and bring back up to temp! Easy peasy and yummy for our post baby fog!!

That brings my count to nine casseroles, eight crock pot meals, and more cans of apple sauce and tomato sauce than I can count right now. Pardon me while I rest on my laurels and put my feet up.

I’m interested….does anyone else out there prep for busy times by filling the freezer?

FO Friday: Summer Canning

My feet and I survived our canning session last weekend!

What were my spoils you ask?

– 11 pints of brown sugar/cinnamon apple sauce
– 5 full pints and 11 1/2 pints of apple jelly

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And 16 glorious pints of tomato sauce!!

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I’d still like to put up more salsa and tomato sauce but that will be schedule and pregnancy permitting. Just going with the flow at this point!

What’s in your canner lately?

The Day of The Tomato

My family has a ridiculously large garden. And I’m blessed to reap the rewards. Right now I have 8 gallon bags of frozen home grown delicious tomatoes in my freezer. Ripe and ready to hit the sauce pot. And that is literally just the tip of the iceberg so to speak of what the plants produced.

I learned how to cook, season, and can my own tomato sauce and salsa last summer. And boy….let me tell you how delicious that was all winter to have yummy jars to cook into my casseroles and crock pot!

Jellybean is growing and growing so I don’t quite have the get up an go of last summer. But my plan is to work slow and steady today with lots of water and sitting breaks. All so I can convert those juicy tomatoes into sauce. It’s a rough day when your food cravings crash against your swollen pregnancy feet, lol.

Wish me luck! I hope to have some good foodie photos to show when I’m done ūüôā

Apples: Take Two!

Behold jars of green apple goodness…20140706-153312-55992321.jpgI’ve been cleaning out the¬†deep freeze to both use up old supplies and make room for frozen casseroles for my post-baby haze. I found about 10 lbs of peeled, cored, and frozen green apples from my tree last summer. I cooked half of them down into apple juice and made apple jelly (front jars). The other half I put into jars and added this pie filling recipe¬†(rear jars).¬†

I’ve tried the jelly and it’s a very light delicate jelly. I think the flavor would have been enhanced by leaving the skin on the apples but alas I did not have that foresight last summer. I shall remedy that this summer with the new crop. The pie filling remains to be tested. I have some summer BBQs on my schedule so now I can take fresh pie!

What is your favorite summer treat?

 

More Cherry Jam

Summer in Kansas is in full swing! During a recent trip to my parents house I noticed the cherry trees were ripe and ready to go. Two and a half hours later and five large ice cream buckets later, this pregnant lady was hot and tired. And, I might note, the three trees were only half picked!

As reward for my sweaty work I went home with two buckets of pitted and washed fruit. My most favorite jam of all time is cherry. So after a quick trip to the grocery store for sugar and pectin. I transformed all that fruit into jar after jar of delicious jam. Three hours and some¬†swollen ankles I have this…

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Tomato Madness

My family has always grown a HUGE garden. The tomatoes set and produced like gangbusters this year. I have been dying to put up some homemade salsa and tomato sauce. I use so much sauce in my crock pot recipes and the hubby eats salsa by the gallon. But the problem is that I didn’t know how to can either of those.

So over Labor Day weekend, my Grandma and Aunt Janice offered to teach me. It was SOOO much work but it was awesome! I love making stuff in my Grandma’s kitchen. It reminds me of being a kid again.

Start with the freshest tomatoes a garden can produce. Remove skins and seeds leaving only the yummy pulp and juice…

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Pick some yummy green chilies and throw on the grill…

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Roast until toasty and blistery and sweat until skins come off…

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Take tomato goodness and cook down until you have thick saucy goodness…

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Season with yummy veggies and spices and pour into jars and process until sealed tight!

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In 13 hours (over two days with many helping hands) I was able to make 14 pints of tomato and roasted chili salsa and 17 pints of tomato sauce. My cupboard is so happy now!!! I can’t wait to savor these goodies in the winter when everything is cold and dreary.

Summer is Here!!

Spending last weekend in my hometown meant a trip to the family garden! Growing up my Grandparents grew a HUGE garden every year. My Grandparents raised four teenage boys in the 60s and 70s and took up gardening to protect their grocery bill! We had beans, potatoes, corn, onions, asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, tomatoes, peppers, cherries, apples, and more I have probably forgotten. I never knew what frozen or store bought canned goods were until I went to college, lol.

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Look at all the green goodness! Thanks to a mild spring and lots of rain the garden is in excellent shape. I couldn’t help snap a few pictures as I wandered the property. It was a beautiful day full of blue skies and sunshine. It was a perfect way to relax and meditate.

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My Grandfather has passed and my Grandma is 80, so this garden is largely tended by my father and my uncle. I try to pitch in when I am home because that’s only fair if I share in the bounty. My plans for summer garden goodies are as follows:

  1. Make and can homemade tomato sauce to store for the year. I use tomato sauce in so many recipes it would be nice to have healthy homemade in stock in my pantry.
  2. Make and can Jalapeno jam/jelly for Christmas and housewarming gifts
  3. Make and restock my homemade cherry/berry jam stock. I only have two jars left!!

On my visit I dug some new potatoes for an old family tradition of New Potatoes and Peas. I also snagged some sweet spring onions!

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I plan to clean up a couple of these and dice into some stir fry tonight for dinner!

Happy Thursday!!