Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm such a busy little bee!

I really feel like Ma Ingalls now!!

I've "put up" 6 pints of stewed tomatoes and 14 pints of peach freezer jam!!

This is the very first time I've ever done something like this, and I swear I almost feel more sense of accomplishment than when I finally finished my dissertation!
Thank goodness the garden bounty didn't take 8 years!!!

I've always been a little scared of the canning process.
Something about the whole botulism thing really gives me the creeps...
Go figure!

But, one of my really good friends who's like a big sister to me, and one of my bosses as well, told me there's really nothing to it and all would be well if I just followed a few simple rules.

The first thing I did was peel my tomatoes.

Now, I'll be honest.
This sounded like a horribly boring and tedious job to do.
But when you drop those babies into boiling water and that skin splits, you take them out and dunk them in ice water, that skin just slides right off.

Now, I love tomatoes.
I think I might have mentioned that before.
If not, you might have guessed it since I planted 25 tomato plants this summer.
The smell of these beauties as they are opened and cut into hunks is just absolutely fabulous!

I crushed mine pretty well because I know I will be using them in soups, spaghetti sauce, etc all winter.  I don't mind a big bite of tomato, but my kids will turn their nose up if the bites are too big. 
When I have to buy tomatoes, I usually buy the diced tomatoes.
Since this was my first batch, I simply added a little salt and pepper to taste and stewed for about 20 minutes.


I filled my jars and left a 1 inch space at the top.
Then I placed those jars into a bath of steaming, almost boiling water for about 10-15 minutes.
I turned the heat off then and just let the jars rest.

While those tomatoes were luxuriating in their sauna, I thought about all those peaches on my counter.
I remembered seeing a recipe for freezer jam from Sandy at The Reluctant Entertainer, and then she linked to a recipe for peach freezer jam from Christy at A Southern Plate.
What did I ever do without the blogging community???

I went on over and read through the simplest instructions imaginable...even for a beginner like me!

I smooshed my peaches with a potato smoosher.

I added 4 cups of sugar for every 3 cups of peaches...YOWZA!!
Mixed all that up and let the sugar and peaches intermingle.
Then I dissolved the jell stuff (I used Sure-Jell because that's what I remember my mama using).
I poured the Sure-Jell into the smooshed peaches and sugar...
poured the peach, sugar, jell mixture into the sterilized jars...


The crushed, stewed tomatoes are on the left and the peach freezer jam is on the right.
This was Monday night's work...

and this...was tonight...

I am exhausted.
But, it is that GOOD kind of exhaustion!

Can you believe that I still have more tomatoes??
and peaches??

Whoa Nelly!

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