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!!!


fullfreezer said…
Your tomato sauce recipe sounds yummy. I usually just do plain crushed tomatoes, chunks or plain sauce so I can 'dress it up' with whatever I'm making in the winter.
And that's a boatload of grapes! Next time you get that much of a 'deal', drop me a line- I'm in the neighborhood. I'm sure we could work something out.
clink said…
Judy ... what neighborhood are you in? Scott County ... Clinton County?

And I am lucky enough to get some good deals now and then!
Larry said…
HI Cathy,

On the spaghetti sauce recipe, what is the amount of olive oil?
fullfreezer said…
Not that close. We're in Johnson Co. near the Cedar Co. line. I have a co-worker who commutes from DeWitt every day but that's way too far for me for every day.

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