Even better than $6

Out on a walk a month or so ago, we met a like-minded neighbor. He’d planted a little orchard and vegetable garden in his side yard in the middle of suburbia; we all started to chat and have since stayed in touch. He mentioned he had tomatoes but no time to can them – and I mentioned that last year when my vines had failed I’d canned a friends’ tomatoes and the deal was that I kept half. He said he’d bring over lots of tomatoes for me.

He wasn’t kidding.

That may not look like much, but each of those buckets is five gallons of tomatoes. And yes, they were all brimful to start with (I always forget to take “before” photos.) Altogether it he brought over 2 1/2 bushels; and then there were my own too (the heirlooms on the right), a couple pecks I think.

Working off and on, it took me all day to can them, even just making simple crushed tomatoes instead of something fancy like salsa where you have to chop a bunch of ingredients carefully and add spices and whatnot. But then again, for crushed tomatoes every single tomato has to be peeled and cored – that was what took hours, not the canning part. And this time I had no mother-in-law to help me. Boo hoo.

I got ‘er done, though.

21 quarts, including 5 of juice. I never did get around to doing my own tomatoes; maybe I’ll do a small batch of special heirloom salsa with them and my own jalapeños tomorrow.

I’m not sure I saved any more money than last time (even though he provided jars and lids) because of the electricity involved in keeping water boiling that long; but it’s good to have a friendly connection and a pantry full of all the canned tomato I could ask for.

Though next time he brings them over I’m doing pasta sauce, or maybe salsa. Something that doesn’t require peeling.

6 Responses to “Even better than $6”

  1. Erin Says:

    I peel and de-seed for pasta sauce and diced/crushed, do you leave skins on in your pasta sauce? I only de-seed for salsa and it seems to come out fine.

  2. diana Says:

    Hey Erin – I never deseed, as chefs seem to think the seeds have lots of flavor. I do destem, though. And yeah I leave the skins on for the pasta sauce. I roast the toms first, and then break them down in the puree or food mill or sausage grinder, so the skin bits are very tiny – we’ve never noticed one and we ate it all last year. It saves me tons of time… and since they’re organic it’s fine right? :)

  3. Kathleen Says:

    That’s a lot of tomatoes! Wish I could have helped – it was fun to work together.

  4. diana Says:

    Oh Kathy, we wish you were still here too… :)

  5. ohiofarmgirl Says:

    great work baby!!! i never buy the “you arent saving anything by doing it yourself” arguement… if anything you are saving YOURSELF. no additives, no who-knows-what is in the can/can lining, and the petroleum costs. so yeah, baby, you came out ahead for sure.


  6. diana Says:

    OFG: you’re right, I’d forgotten about that aspect of it! Knew I could count on you to have something positive to say. 😉

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