I’ll admit: the first time I canned tomatoes, I felt empowered. Like a woman who could save the world, in a pinch, with her preserved foods.
Save the world, I say — with SIX! QUARTS! of TOMATOES! (picture the recently-awakened Dr. Evil, in one of the Austin Powers movies, making his demand for ONE! MILLION! DOLLARS!). Yes, immediately after that empowerment, I was a little dumbfounded at what a big box of tomatoes actually looks like once canned.
I wondered: was it worth the effort?
But then I spent all of last winter making tomato soup, and spaghetti sauce, and realized that there was a noticeable, even significant difference between the flavor of a soup made with home-canned tomatoes versus store-bought. Add to this the fact that I’d love to avoid BPA-laden cans altogether, and it seemed that the whole canning thing wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
So this year I bought an extra box, bringing my total up to 90 pounds (the jury’s still out on whether I’ll go for yet another 30-pound box — the jury being made up of 75% myself and 25% my husband, who is likely now trained to panic whenever he walks into the house and smells simmering romas, as he knows I will be preoccupied with sloshing tomato juices for the next 12 or so hours).
But it’s just. So. Hard to stop.
To give perspective — you can look at this list and choose to be either impressed/jealous or surprised/disappointed at the yield. From 90# roma tomatoes, I now have:
- 6 quarts marinara sauce (two have already been eaten, after having not sealed on my and Suzanne’s first attempt at pressure-canning).
- 6 quarts thin tomato juice/broth (leftover from straining chopped tomatoes before cooking down).
- 6 quarts stewed Italian-style tomatoes
- 6 pints tomato salsa
- 10 quarts diced tomatoes (in the two “dueling canners” above, as diced tomatoes can be either water-bath or pressure-canned — I plan to compare the flavor of both!)
…aaaaaaaand that’s it. Looks nice stacked up in my
stockpiling warehouse basement — but the jars are so precious, I wonder if I’ll be afraid to use them.
In other news — I have a super-fun giveaway planned for next week. Be sure and check back, especially if you’re interested in learning more about fermented foods.
Want to get set-up for canning? This is the water-bath canner I use, pictured above-left (cheaper, and a great intro to canning). For a step up in complexity, or to can lower-acid foods, this is the type of pressure-canner I use (above-right).