Last Saturday, my friend Lisa and I stopped by Cox Berry Farms near Clarksville to let the kids do some peach-picking. We were amazed at how many peaches were ripe! I got a little carried away and let the kids pick a peck. While I was there I saw they had canning tomatoes for $15 a bushel, a price I haven’t been able to beat.
I didn’t even consider that I was leaving the next day for three days, so when I came back I had to can both the peaches and tomatoes, and can quick.
I had decided to make the tomatoes into a homemade spaghetti sauce. First, I simply cut my tomatoes into eighths. The picture is just one of 4 or 5 batches.
At Christmas last year, I hinted to Matt that I wanted a Kitchenaid Mixer. I wanted it so I could buy the fruit/vegetable strainer attachment to be able to process tomatoes more efficiently. Blanching, peeling, and coring was way too much work last year. So I was excited to try out my new toy.
I have to admit, it did save time; however, it wasn’t as simple as I had planned. Also, the tomato flesh ended up very runny, necessitating longer time to boil down to the desired consistency.
Still, the attachment came in quite handy, and I am always impressed with the sheer strength of that mixer.
Next, I placed the tomatoes in my stock pot and started boiling it down. Since I had to do the tomatoes in batches, my tomatoes boiled down for most of the day. Later I added onions, green peppers, garlic, fresh basil, fresh oregano, fresh parsley, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, and tomato paste to make the spaghetti sauce.
After all that time and work, I was kind of disappointed that it only made 5 quarts of sauce. Still, hopefully it will be yummy!
Earlier this summer, I bought a pressure canner. I had used it for the first time last week when my friend Tiffany and I canned a small batch of tomatoes. This time went a little smoother since I had a little bit of an idea what I was doing this time.
Although I haven’t tasted the sauce yet, I don’t know if I will go to this effort if I have to purchase tomatoes. With only 5 quarts produced, that puts my cost at $3 per quart, over double what I can buy at the store. (Most of the other ingredients came from my garden.) Hopefully next year I will do better with my own tomatoes, and it will be worth it to can sauce with those.
I canned peaches last year from Cox Berry Farms that my friend Midon picked for me, and we really enjoyed having them sporadically all winter. This year we got double that amount so we will have even more, but that also meant even more work in canning them!
I started by blanching the peaches (putting them in boiling water, followed by submerging them in ice cold water.
After that I peeled them, cored them, and sliced them. The pictures show the different stations: boil, cold shock, dry, peel, core, and slice.
I guess I forgot to take pictures after I sliced the peaches. I sprinkled them with lemon juice to protect their color. Then I made a light syrup of 2 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water. I boiled the slices in the syrup for 5 minutes and then hot packed the peaches into pint and half-pint mason jars. Then I poured the boiling syrup into the jars and sealed them.
From there, I processed them in the canner using a boiling water bath, for 20 minutes. I had so many peaches that I had to do two canner loads.