Today my project is tackling a more advanced recipe for canning. I told my grandma that canning is kind of addictive. I am now asking myself, “What else can I can?” I have always loved good food especially home cooked food using fresh ingredients. I have never entered the winter with a pantry full of food that I have canned myself. I am pretty excited about it. After spending yesterday rearranging shelves so that I could maximize my space and analyzing both canning jars left and things I might like to try I decided on a new recipe with my excess yellow tomatoes–Honeyed Tomato Butter. It is from the Ball Blue Book !00th Anniversary Edition pg 30.
5 pounds yello Tomatoes
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger
1 TBSP whole allspice
2 sticks cinnamon
Make a tomato pulp.
Combine tomato pulp, sugar, and honey in a large saucepot. Tie ginger and spices in a spice bag. Add spice bag to tomato mixture. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot butter into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Process 10 minutes in boiling-water canner. Makes about 3 half pints.
One thing I have learned is that alot of these recipes only work if you are home a lot, like all day. I had been better at staying home before commuting to the farm, now it seems like we have places to go all the time, but canning has been a good excuse to stay home, though at times that can even be overwhelming, especially when the kids have been begging to go to the park and I am still trying to boil down the tomato sauce. Oh I can’t wait till the time when we live on a farm and I can send the kids outside to play.
Tomatoes are finally ripe and most mornings find us at the farm harvesting tomatoes. Then back home for a quick bite to eat and shower before dropping Proeun off at work. After nap time time to can said tomatoes. Yes this year I learned to can. All year I was collecting jars and I finally bought a canner. Now our basement shelves are steadily filling with not only tomatoes but apricots, pears, peaches, nectarines, rhubarb sauce, pickled green beans and apple sauce. Today I was canning pears and apple sauce. Hourly wages definitely don’t apply here. But it is such a sense of accomplishment. I’ll write more soon.
Home Again! The past 10 days we have been visiting family in California. The excuse for the visit was a wedding. We now know that from here on out we will have to be careful when we plan vacations. Luckily this year odd weather has pushed the harvest dates back but still after 10 days even our backyard garden looks a little neglected. On the plus side upon return I had plenty of vegetables to harvest for dinner. We had carefully cleaned out our frig before we left and really had nothing for dinner–until I walked to the garden. I harvested an eggplant and cucumber. So we had eggplant parmesan with some spaghetti and sauce from the pantry and sliced cucumber.
Our chicken coop also needed some attention. It had rained the previous day so the layers of manure and straw were wet and easy to shovel. If I waited a couple days it would turn to cement. For 10 days I had been visiting with family, eating and sight seeing with very little exercise so I actually enjoyed shoveling out the poo. The kids both grabbed their shovels and ran to help. Two said, “I want to help because that is what farmers do.” it made me very appreciative of a simple life, tending children, gardens and animals.
Proeun and his friend Van (from the 3rd grade) were talking about how some times they would love to just be kids again with no cares or pressing demands, but me I love where I am at. I love the raising children and providing for them, growing food for our family and preparing it and learning how to care for animals. Many people depend on me, even as I depend on Proeun, and that gives my life meaning. I wouldn’t change it for anything.