Saturday, September 4, 2010

53 Quart Jars per Dishwasher Load

Yes, it is true, TOMATO FEST 2010 has begun.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres went to the garden early this morning and picked an entire trailer load of fresh beautiful tomatoes.  We have Golden and Red tomatoes, Early Girl, Better Boy, Roma, Beefsteak, Celebrity, and Sungold.  There is hardly a blemish on any of them. I can't remember the last time we had so many beauties!  While Mr. Yesteryear Acres picked the tomatoes, I started washing all the empty quart jars from last year.  I got a few cleaned and ready and then I thought how brilliant it would be to use the dishwasher. If you take out all the baskets for silverware....53 Quart Jars fit into each load!  How awesome is that?! Then the fun really began. Sink load after sink load of tomatoes to peel and cook down.For those who aren't aware of all the ins and outs and of course endless joys of tomato preparation, first you fill the sink up with tomatoes.  Then you pour gallons of hot boiling water over the tomatoes and let it sit for about 30-45 seconds. The fun really begins then with the peeling off of all the tomato skins.  I have a 5 gallon bucket that I use just for the skins and empty it often.  This part of the processing is where a good movie is essential!  After all the tomatoes are peeled, I squish them down into a huge pot and cook down the liquid by almost half.  That usually takes a good hour or more.  After the tomatoes have reduced it is time to fill up all the quart jars. You need hot jars, heated lids, rings, lifters - just put it this way - tons of dishes - tons of work. The canner only holds 7 quart jars at a time and each batch of 7 jars takes 45 minutes to process.  I am not even halfway done with today's load and it is already after 9pm. It will be a long evening but with any luck at all....I might maybe perhaps get around 28 quarts done. A little over 1/4 of the way towards my end goal of 104 quarts. And for all those who have been anxiously wondering who kept me company during my day of tomato fun - why John Travolta himself.  He along with the puppies made for awesome tomato companions. Back to the grind!

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