Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Salsa and Sauce for the Cooler Months Ahead
While the Blind Boys of Alabama sang their gospel and soulful blues and Abby and Scout napped, John and I peeled, chopped, simmered, and canned... and laughed, sang, and sweated... and thankfully put a dent in the tomatoes that had lined our kitchen countertops in every direction. Oh yes, there are still tomatoes sitting there in the windowsill and in the sunlight around the sink, waiting to turn wondrously ripe, waiting for their time to be turned into pico de gallo or sauce or quiche or to be simply sliced for sandwiches. And there are still tomatoes on the vines in the garden. But at least we got our first day of canning done yesterday (or as our Southern rural neighbors say, we "put up" some tomatoes) and are proud of our fresh, homemade sauce for pasta and hot, lively salsa for autumn afternoons and winter evenings. And there's some fresh, chopped tomatoes on hand in the fridge for other uses this week, including tonight's meal of shrimp and linguini and salad.
We spent several hours at this project. It's definitely a labor of love for fresh, organic, and homegrown because it takes a lot of time and energy. Our yield yesterday won't last us too long, but we'll enjoy every bite of it.
Here is the first batch of tomatoes, mostly Romas but we also used Mountain Pride, German Johnson, and Celebrity, waiting to be parboiled and then dunked into ice cold water so their skins could be easily removed.
Here I am at the sink, peeling away and peeling away and peeling away. I can't tell you how many tomatoes we went through, but it was a lot!
Now everything's been peeled, chopped, blended, and ready to be lightly boiled... oh wait... not quite enough garlic. John and I adore garlic. After this step, the tomatoes and their various counterparts will be placed into sterilized jars and dropped into a hot water bath for approximately 45 minutes. That's when we can sit down and enjoy a glass of wine (me) or another cup of coffee (John).
The results? Five pints of salsa and four quarts and a pint of pasta sauce. They might look the same in the jars, but trust me, they are not. Oh no, they definitely are quite different.
And one last photo... blueberries picked yesterday morning while it was raining and the temperature was bearable. I brought them in, dumped them on a towel across the table, and spread them out in one layer to dry.... probably about ten cups, and more on the bushes still.
Fortunately these are much easier to deal with as they freeze so well, and many of them will be made into another Blueberry Streusel Cobbler that we will take to our son's house when we go to enjoy dinner and a visit this weekend, and to bring Empi back to Camp Dresser while our son goes to Las Vegas... for work!