Thursday, August 4, 2011


Yesterday was special. It was my birthday.
It was just another day as I woke and thanked the Lord to be alive and well. I wasn't planning anything and so I was in leisure mode.
My sister called and we talked for a long while. And while we were talking we were interrupted several times. No big deal.
One of those interruptions was a very sweet friend of mine who wanted to take me to lunch.
I was surprised. But,  I had to finish my call with my sister.
A hour later I returned the call to my very sweet friend and accepted the invitation. In the invitation was a extended invitation to go to a quilt shop for my gift.
So we went to Farmer Boy's for their Chicken Club sandwich combo. I didn't think I could eat it all until I did. Like wow. I must have been hungry. At 11:00 am though, well. It all went down, and it was yummy.
And then we were off with our tummies full and conversations in full blow.
She took me to Ginger's Quilt Shop. A lovely place.
I perused the place looking for something that I couldn't go home without. I saw some yummies , but I just was not sure. After a hour of really scoping the place out. I came across a fat quarter pack. I thought "Oh my. I think I really like that. If I can find some yardage to carry this through That is what I would like".
 I figured my hubby had given me a bit to pick up something for myself for my birthday gift from him.
I thought I wanted a Chronological Bible I had been told about. But when I checked it out. Well it just didn't grab me, so to speak. I really was not all that impressed.
rich & yummy 
So my thoughts  were, ' I can get the fat quarters and she can help with the yardage, maybe'.
As I was deciding on what coordinating fabrics I wanted she was telling me, "just take it all. Just take all that too. Make sure you get enough".
So I did.
When we got to the register I asked for a birthday discount and wanted to know if they honored them. You 'betcha' was the response.
So they rang her order up and scooted my bundle right on in there with it and I was blessed. I mean I was so shocked that I was almost ready to cry. But I don't cry all that easy so, I was kind of like now, speech- less. I really didn't think, "THANK YOU" was good enough. I still don't know if "THANK YOU" is good enough.

But what else can one say?

And I just wanted to share what I got for my birthday from my very sweet friend, "Myrna, Thank you".

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Canning Tomatoes

I have been canning tomatoes for a few years now and am glad I do.
It was in 1998 that a friend of mine Showed me how. She told me how over the phone but it just didn't make since to me. So one day she came over and we went at it.
I used to carry mail and a customer gave me all that I needed since she was done canning for all her years of putting food by.
I purchased books on how to preserve the harvest and on and on. Today, I do tomatoes. I also do other produce, but today its Tomatoes.
This time I took photos so as to Show those who want to See how it is done can get a visual. We are visual souls some of us.
Before I start any of this process. I make sure that I have good, clean mason jars and NEW lids and non-rusted rings.
I clean the jars, lids, and rings and place the jars in a steamer. You can use a boiling water bath pot also. Put the lids in a small amount of water that I bring to a boil, so that the rubber part of the lid, becomes moldable. But I don't have to do this until the time is closer to sealing the jars up.
I place the jars up-side down on the steamer rack. If using a water bath, I make sure the jars are emerged in the water and covered well. They will be returned to this pot later for final sealing.
While the tomatoes are cooking, I begin to heat the jars for sterilization. I keep them in the steamer/ water bath until ready to use.
So. I start with nice unblemished ripe tomatoes. I clean them from outside dirt.
I boil enough water in a big enough pot to cover several at a time. I place them in a rack that fits down in the pot. This will help to bring the tomatoes up out of the boiling water. This is to cause the tomatoes to peel with ease. They may even crack, the skins that is.
When I take them out of the boiling water, I place them in a sink of cold water to cool them down so I can handle them for peeling.
I have bowls ready for separating the tomatoes and their skins. I also remove the seeds, or as many as possible. I try to stay away from too many of these guys.
Once I have the tomatoes peeled is when I go back and remove the yuk inside them which includes the seeds.
I put the separated tomatoes in a clean pot that I then cook the tomatoes in.
These need to be brought to a boil that cannot be stirred down.
While they are cooking I will notice some foam that comes to the surface. I skim this off and continue to do this until I don't see any more.
When the tomatoes come to a full boil that I cannot stir down I know that the time is ready for filling the jars.
I have a funnel and ladle for filling the HOT jars  with the tomatoes.
Before I begin to fill each jar, I take the jar from the steamer, put salt ( 1 Tbsp for quarts and 1 tsp for pints) in the bottom and place my funnel in the mouth of the jar. I fill the jar to about a quarter of an inch head space from the top.
 I wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and the using a magnet, I retrieve a lid from the boiling pan and shake the excess water from it.
I place it nicely on the jar, and taking a clean dry ring, I close up the jar. This can be tricky a bit, since the jars are full of HOT tomatoes. Just be careful and close them as TIGHT as possible. You may need help at this point.
Once I have the jars filled, I place them back on the steamer / water bath and steam them for 15 minutes.
I remove them from the steamer and with a thick towel, wipe them dry and set them aside for about 12-24 hours. If using a water bath, I need canning tongs to remove the jars from the bath. They need to be cooled before moving them around.
I then label them with a date and turn them upside down to get the salt mixed into the tomatoes. But I DO not do this before they are cooled. It could break the seal.
I place them in a cool dark place for up to one year. I do check them from time to time during  the year. If I haven't used them all up in great tasting dishes.
What I had left over, I made sauce with and had a great tasting spaghetti dinner.

four and one half quarts

left over stewed and blemished
tomatoes that went into dinner

 Hope this is a big help to you and that you let me know how you do when you can your own tomatoes.

Just to let you all know, The Pioneer Woman has inspired me to take pictures and blog like a crazy lady. She does such a great job at it. I don't know how she does ALL that she does, and be a mom too...