Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Canning Can Bring Laughter

I needed to get going on my tomatoes today. I won't get them all done today by myself, but I can get a good start on them. I get my jars ready and put them in the canner to boil. I used to by those granite speckle ware type water bath canners, but I had 2 get a rust hole in them. I have this large stainless steel pot with a glass lid. I put an insert from my pressure canner in the bottom so the jars won't break when they boil. I have been told you can put a towel in the bottom as well. I don't boil my seals until I am ready to use them.

Then I poured the basket of tomatoes in my sink. This is not all of them. I had already done some at the point I thought about taking pictures. I rinse off the dirt and and leaves that dried on them. Then put them over on the cutting board.
I cut off any bad spots and pull the stems off if they are still attached. You don['t have to remove the core or the skin though. I then cut them in pieces. The smaller Roma tomatoes only got cut in half the long way. The Amish Paste tomatoes were larger, so they got cut in 4ths or 6ths the long way.
I fill this bowl with the tomato pieces. And then move over to my Squeezo Strainer.
I have had this since 1987. I have done a lot of apples with it, but I often forget about it during tomato season. It is totally made out of metal, so I think it will last for a long time to come. I am not sure if they still make the Squeezo or not. There is also one called the Victorio and then there is another brand that I think is called Back To Basics. Both of these have many plastic parts, but they work well from what I hear. For all 3 brands, you can get other size screens for doing other fruits and veggies. I have a berry screen which has much smaller holes to catch the small berry seeds and a pumpkin screen that has larger holes that let the thicker pumpkin meat come through. The yellow bowl you see catches the good sauce that is squeezed out. The green bowl catches all the waste like seeds, skin, cores, etc.
Here is looking down into the large hopper. The wooden mallet comes with it and you use it to push the tomatoes down into the hole.
Here is the sauce coming out of the screen and down the chute to the bowl. Every once in awhile, I take a spatula and clean off the screen so that the sauce will come through better.
Here is the waste after one time through. This is the waste from the bowl of cut pieces you saw above. I run them back through a second time and get more sauce out of them.
Here is what is left the second time through.
Now comes the laughter part of my canning day. Laughter is a good thing for me. As you can see from the picture below my floors are plain old cement. We want to put wood floors down someday, but until then, I am living with cement. It is really hard on my feet, knees and back. So, I take frequent breaks to sit down. In fact I am on one of those breaks right now. =) Anyway, I had been putting a piece of paper towel down on the floor under the Squeezo because the juices back up a bit and drip. My wonderful friend Ginny told me that she puts down a bowl instead. So, I decided to do that today. I just grabbed one of the dog bowls since it is stainless steel and easy to clean. Dixie (the pup) kept wanting to lick out the tomato juice. I would tell her no and she would lay down a short distance away and lay there and watch the drip until she couldn't stand it anymore.
Then she would rush over and start licking while the tomato juice dripped on her. The problem is that as she licked the bowl scooted across the floor. I would have to push it back which made her check it again and get any drops that she missed. =) Goofy dog.

Here is the sauce heating up to get ready to go in the jars for canning.

Well, I think my break time is up. Back to work!!!!


Patti said...

What a cute dog! All my pets have interesting personalities too !

Anonymous said...

The sauce looks beautiful. I wish you much canning success and I hope that Dixie gets all the drips she wants. ;-)

Teresa said...

That is a neat strainer. I've never seen one before!

Funny dogs, pets can be so entertaining without trying.

LadySnow said...

I have always wanted something like that to help with my tomatoes..Oh well..maybe someday. Looks like you are off to a great start with canning.

Kelli said...

You have been hard at work! Too funny about Dixie's little snack! I'll bet it's yummy. :0)

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

That sure if a nifty little gadget! I have never seen on before. I could almost smell the tomatoes looking at your pictures....I love how the house smells when working with them.

Perri said...

Marci, I remember making ketchup once when I was a kid - I got to squash the tomatoes by stepping on them in a big galvanized tub. It was so much fun.

Sharri said...

It was neat to see your step by step. I enjoyed that.

That squeezo thing is neat. It sort of works on the same premise as our champion juicer--only not electric.

And Dixie is so funny!

PlainCatholic said...

Your post reminded me of a dear cat we once had. She loved to eat tomatoes and of course, her favorite "outhouse" had a tomato bush growing from it.

Once I made the mistake of trying to multitask while canning. I had made a batch of pumpkin cookie dough and had started the mixer while peeling apples with the hope that in the time the dough mixed, a few more apples could be peeled. Thick dough that it is, I had set the speed a wee bit higher to accomodate...you guessed it - cookie dough on the door, cookie dough on the floor, cookie dough on my cooking books and in every little cranny and nook!

Anonymous said...

Cute story with the doggy! I'll have to remember the bowl tip. I usually just use an old cloth diaper that I lay on the floor that I can toss in the laundry.

am stopping by to invite you to participate in the The Carnival of Home Preserving.

It is a Carnival to Share Recipes and How-To's for Canning, Freezing, Dehydrating (drying), and Root Cellaring of Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs.

The first edition is posted if you would like to come visit:

Carnival of Home Preserving - July 14, 2008 Edition


Submit your blog post (new or one of your archived ones that meets the above description) to the next edition of carnival of home preserving using the carnival submission form.


The Deadline to Submit is every Sunday 6pm EST

The Carnival posted by that Monday on the respective Host's blog.

Everyone is welcome to join in (beginners and experienced alike).