Thursday, July 15, 2010

*NEW* Guest Post Thursdays!!!

From now on .... hopefully...I will be having a guest post every Thursday!  If you would like to send a post please send it to with pics and text. Please be sure your post falls under the category of homemaking.  So - christening our Guest Post Thursdays is my dear friend Heather from Florida.  Now I'll preface this by saying this girl does everything.  She is an amazing woman - AND - does it with four kids in tow.  This is her tutorial for canning tomatoes - a wonderful summer project!
Enjoy- and thanks Heather!
Let’s go  A-Quart-in’
Yes! Even us married girls can do this!  Now is the season for all those YUMMY fruits and veggies!  If you don’t grow your own yummy stuff, go and find a U-Pick place in your area or visit your local farmers market- there are sooo many of summer’s ripe treasures hiding there, YOU just have to go exploring!
Right down the road a mile or so, I found my ripe treasure… a U-Pick tomato farm!  At $5 a 5 gallon bucket… yes, I do grow my own, but there was no way to pass that by!  So, after picking 8 buckets FULL here is what I decided to do: 

Gather all Quart size jars (you can find these at Wal-Mart or pretty much any grocery store)
Wash them in the dishwasher to sterilize (keep them in there till ready for use)
lemon juice, sharp knife, large pot, canner (you can use your largest pot)
   tomatoes, 2 or 3 pans, large bowl, & slotted spoon.
Wash Tomatoes well in lukewarm water.  
Bring a Large pot ¾ full of water to a rolling boil.  Put 5 or 6 tomatoes in boiling water to loosen their skins for about a minute or so, you can see the skins loosen and start to crack.
Scoop the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and place them in a large bowl of ice cold water, this will make the tomatoes easier to handle and the skins easier to peel off.
Peel the skins off and place the bare tomato in a pan, you want to save any juice that may leak out. 
Preserve those vital vitamins!
Slice however you prefer your canned tomatoes, I quarter mine.  
Fill your bowl or pan with those sliced babies, isn’t that pretty?!
Next get a small saucepan ½ full of water, yes I am the glass is ½ full kind of gal!
Put your lids in the water and bring to a boil. 
Now is the time to bring out those sterilized jars from the dishwasher, I do 3 to 4 at a time.
While waiting for those lids its time to put all those lovelies into the jar.  
Leave about ½ inch space at the top, add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar. 
 Rescue the lids from the boiling water, place on top of the jars.  Then take your band and screw it on tight, you want to make sure the lid seals securely to the jar.
Isn’t Quarting fun???!  
Now, if you have a canner fill it ¾ full of water and bring to a rolling boil.  Take 7 quarts and lower them in gently, place lid on and allow to boil for 45 min.  
This is called a water bath, it will help build a vacuum to seal the jar.  
Since tomatoes are an acidic fruit they do not have to be pressure canned.  With that being said, if you do not have a canner, you can use your largest pot and fill it ¾ full.  Bring to a boil and gently lay your jar/jars in (water needs to cover completely).  Boil for 45 minutes.
Once they are “processed” lay towels on your counter, double thickness.  The jars will be HOT, remove from water with a hot pad and let  cool on your counter. 
After 10 maybe 20 minutes you will hear pops and pings… 
you are being serenaded by the beautiful “quarting song”!  
Feel free to join in because you have successfully quarted tomatoes!!!  It is a Beautiful thing!
Once the jars are COMPLETELY cooled, carefully remove bands.  Wash in soapy water.  Dry.  Place in storage till you are ready to create a dazzling meal!

Now are you wondering what I did with 40 gallons of tomatoes…??? 
I went a quartin’ and processed 70 jars of those beauties!  
I also made some wonderful sun dried tomatoes just by slicing the tomato into thirds and placing in a food dehydrator for 24 hours!  

We also ate our fill of Italian salad:  2 tomatoes diced, 2 basil leaves, ½” slice of mozzarella cubed.  
Toss together with a pinch of Mediterranean Sea salt and enjoy!
I hope you go and find your ripe treasure this summer, there is nothing sweeter
than Quartin’ with your sweet loved ones!

P.s.-  Peaches are exactly the same process just add ½ cup honey to each jar and can for 25 min. !!!

Heather from Asmus Acres

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