It’s that time… tomato canning season! Our tomato plants are bursting with fruit. That means a couple of things: first, my arms are constantly covered in tomato resin, a yellow-green, slightly sticky, powdery substance that tomato leaves give off. Apparently, that stuff is “a number of chemicals that are released from hairs situated on the surface of tomato leaves, stems and fruits. Under a microscope, these look like miniature water towers, and the compounds are inside these glands. Some of the compounds are called ‘acyl sugars’.” (http://www.growingformarket.com/articles/green-powder-on-tomato-plants). Second, I am itchy all the time– did you know that tomato leaves and stems are poisonous? Beware of the nightshade family.
And finally, it means that we have a lot of tomatoes left over from market– literally, hundreds. So, on Monday, I learned to can tomatoes!
Canning, for those of you who don’t know, is the process of boiling the food you’re going to preserve, and then boiling the jars you put the food in. The heat eliminates (hopefully) potentially fatal-to-humans bacteria. So far, we’ve canned beets, pickles, hot peppers, strawberry-rhubarb preserves, and most recently, tomatoes.
You do need some equipment for canning– best to get a kit that has it all. Mostly it’s just a canner, which is a big pot with a shelf for the jars, and lots of jars, and lots of time because canning is kind of a lengthy process. We blanched (peeled the skin from) the tomatoes, boiled them, boiled the empty jars and lids, put the tomatoes in the jars, and boiled them for 45 minutes. The result was purely awesome canned tomatoes, for use any time in the future. Canning is a great activity for a rainy day with your friends.
More to come this weekend, I think. Hope you all survive the rain….