You might remember these tomatoes from the pre-frost harvest last weekend. There were actually at least twice as many green grape tomatoes but I didn't get all of them in a picture together.
Well it took a few days, but my partner and I finally got it together and turned them all into preserves. This is the first time either of us had ever attempted real home canning. Athough my husband's father has, and hubz had watched him do it. So at least that was something.
We followed the Bell Blue Book as well as we could, but not as well as it said we should. I noticed on like every other page it admonished the reader to follow the recipes exactly and use absolutely no substitutions. We couldn't really do that though, as we don't have a scale. So we had to approximate measures as best we could. That was the toughest part. The other thing it said was to use the fruits and veggies immediately after picking them, which we didn't manage either. I'm hoping we did ok though, and won't get botulism. It seems to me as long as their is plenty of vinegar and lemon in there, and they were boiled long enough, we're probably ok. I hope.
The first thing we did was separate out the red tomatoes, and place them in boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds. Let them cool, then proceeded to peel, chop and deseed. Finally they were placed in a Ziploc freezer bag, and as much air was squeezed out as possible. Here they are after freezing for two days, looks pretty good. I think they'll make a good sauce in November.
Next we took care of the green grape tomatoes. Well, hubz actually did this one while I tried to work on my paper. As described in the last post about this, we used the dilled green tomato recipe from the blue book. The biggest problem I anticipate here is that my partner, bless his little heart, didn't realize a head of fresh dill equals more than a single sprig. When he was already done I looked in the refrigerator and noticed half the bunch of fresh dill we bought was still there. If it had been me I would have just split the whole bunch up between each jar, but what are you going to do. I guess they'll just be more tart than dill. Hopefully they'll be edible! Here are pics of them boiling and the finished product.
Last but not least we tackled farmgirl's green tomato relish. Once again hubz mostly took care of it, but this time I hovered a bit to help when he needed it. It was a lot of chopping, that's for sure! But in the end we used up everything but a few cayennes and habaneros, so it was totally worth it. We didn't want to use quart jars, because it would be hard to eat all of that just between two of us in a week or two once it was opened. So we had to use half pint jars because that is all they had left in the store. I think this will probably work out better since the "relish" really came out like a thick, intensely flavorful sauce.
There was so much of it, we couldn't fit it all in one boiling water bath so put the leftover in a quart jar and ate that for dinner on a Mexican pizza. Thank goodness, after all that work, it really was super delicious! Somehow a couple slightly pink tomatoes got leftover, and a half-ripe orange bell pepper. So I also chopped those and cooked them with a box of Spanish Rice a Roni instead of a can of tomatoes, which again I am happy to report tasted extremely yummy . We had that on top of toasted hard corn tortillas, with black beans, corn, black olives, the relish and fresh cilantro. The thickness of the relish was slightly applesauce-y, and with just the right amount of sweetness from the apples too. I really enjoyed the texture since usually store-bought green tomato salsas are too watery. But it still had that great green tartness. MMM it was good. Those 3 MMMs are for the three pizzas I ate!