I apologize for the lack of recent activity in the blog, but peak harvest season is in FULL SWING! If you were to step inside my home you would be climbing over crates of freshly picked tomatoes, side-stepping gallon jars of fermenting pickles, and listening to the dehydrator and canner compete for your audio attention.
I had quite a few “filler food posts” lined up, but when my 16 month-old laptop bit the dust last month (and that is just the tip of the shit-storm), I lost over 1500 pictures! Everything from December 2010 through mid July, gone. Like unrecoverable gone. Bummer, huh? Oh well, that will teach me for: (1) not backing up my computer onto my external hard drive, and (2) not transferring my images onto said external hard drive.
Since I lost all my photos, I now have a large que of blog posts waiting for accompanying images. Although I live in my kitchen during this time of the year, most of my activities revolve around preserving the harvest, so there is not much “real” cooking and recipe experimentation going on. Most of my daily meals consist of snacking on raw produce and grilled veggie sandwiches, which I have already posted about. I’m hoping to sneak in more food time, but with 60 lbs of tomatoes staring me down on a daily basis, it does not look too hopeful!
Because my tomatoes are in their “full throttle” production stage, I am constantly searching for new ways to put them up. Don’t get me wrong, I like canned tomatoes, especially in soups and curry dishes, but I still have quite a bit left over from last year’s harvest. While flipping through my ever-growing library of canning books, I found instructions for stewed tomatoes. Seeing as how I grew celery this year, I knew I had to give this recipe a whirl!
Stewed Tomatoes – from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing, and Dehydration
4 Qts chopped, peeled, cored tomatoes (24 large)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (I used Purple Beauty, see note below)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot. Cover; cook 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Ladle hot vegetables into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece lids. Process pints 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner. Recipe yields 7 pints or 3 quarts.
I ended up with 5 pints of stewed tomatoes and 1 quart of tomato juice. Instead of tossing the left over juice, I reserved it to use as cooking liquid for quinoa and rice.
**Never ever EVER change quantities of acid and non acid foods in canning recipes. Varieties, however, are interchangeable. If a recipe calls for 1 cup chopped green pepper, you can substitute 1/2 cup green and 1/2 cup jalapeno, etc. This is ok because you are still meeting the required 1 cup amount.