Extreme canning continues.............
It's September in Iowa and its harvest season. Everyone in our neck of the woods is "putting up". And since it seems to be a neighborhood competition ......... "Well, I put up 17 qts of tomato juice." "I finished 25 jars of grape jam". "Yesterday, after working an 8 hour day ... I canned 38 qts of pickles".
Its like fish-tales ............ first liar doesn't have a chance!
Except ... its all true. And we all should be certified. (That's our mental state ..... not our kitchens! Yes, Honey, I know. I already have my papers!) But I digress............
I've been neglecting the tomatoes here at Miss Eff's this week. Now you know, I planted fewer tomatoes this year. Last year ... I planted 72 plants. This year..... 54 plants. And so far, nary a tomato seemed to be showing up. Oh ... there were these green hard round things ... but no juicy sweet vine-ripened tomatoes.
So last Saturday -- I get a call from my favorite produce man, John. I had ordered some blueberries from him and they were ready for pick-up. John does brokered produce and had a deal on grapes. "Cathy ... I have 3-3/4 flats of seedless concord-type grapes and 3/4 flat of seeded Concord grapes. I'll make you a deal -- $50 for all and a jar of jam." DEAL!!
*Note to self .......... ask how many pounds are in a flat next time!
87 pounds of grapes!!!!! That's sh*t load of grapes! Fortunately, I pawned (scratch that!) traded a flat to Sheepie Neighbor for a few chicks. Certifiable, I tell ya. We are all certifiable!!!
So I have spent the week making grape jam. Blueberry jam will follow. Fortunately, they were easily frozen so that will happen later.
But in the meantime, those green hard-things in my backyard, decided to ripen. Holey Smoke! You can get a lot of tomatoes off of 54 plants!!!
Yesterday, I canned 15 qts of tomatoes. Today it is pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. And more tomatoes tomorrow.
But here is my favorite recipe for spaghetti sauce.
1-1/4 c. chopped onions
1-1/4 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. olive oil
Cook the onion, celery and carrots in the olive oil until tender ... about 20 minutes.
Add 1 clove minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add 8 pounds of ripe, peeled, chopped and seeded tomatoes (I always use something meaty for this ... like plum or Roma tomatoes) and 1 tsp sugar (optional) and fresh ground pepper.
Simmer over low heat until tomatoes are soft .... about 15 minutes.
Put the sauce through a food mill if desired. If you like a chunkier sauce ... eliminate this step.
Add 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano and simmer, stirring often until it reaches sauce consistency ....... about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of lemon juice for every qt. and pack into clean sterilized jars. Process in a hot water bath for 45 minutes.
And notice, gentle readers........ I did not mention the fact that there is not one little drop of high fructose corn syrup to be found in that recipe! Well ............... maybe I didn't!!!