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Monday, September 19, 2011

September is for Preserving

I have been very busy this month working on putting away produce for the rest of the year.  Blackberry season seemed to be a bit late this year, not really coming on until the second week of September, but the kids and I have managed to put away about 4 gallons of berries, and make one batch of blackberry jam (not to mention several batches of muffins, pie bars, and any other baked good that sounded delicious at the time).  I think the season is just about over, but I am trying to get another gallon or two to make into Syrup.  We will have to see if the bushes have enough left to support this en devour.

Saturday a friend called me and asked if I was interested in some boxes of tomatoes as she was at a fruit stand in Bellevue picking some up already.  She kindly brought me home 4 boxes of tomatoes.  When trying to figure out how much of any food you will need, it's a bit of an iffy proposition with multiple variables.   I have never tracked how much of anything we've used before in a winter, so this was my best guess.  I knew that we needed to make a batch of Chili Sauce, and that we were out of all canned tomatoes.  Turns out that 80 lbs of tomatoes turns into 46 quarts of tomatoes, and 9 pints of Chili Sauce. (In case you are wondering, Chili Sauce is what we serve on our roasts every Sunday and is a staple in our home.  I believe the original recipe, that my family still uses today, came from my husbands great-grandmother.)
I feel lucky that only 2 of the quarts did not seal.  They are sitting in the fridge for use this week.  Now I just need to figure out where I am going to store all of these!

It has been a busy weekend.  I never want to see another produce box of tomatoes, unless it looks like this. Zander was a pretty good little guy while I slaved over the steaming stove for hours at a time.  He thought playing in this box was a great thing, especially when I added Goldfish crackers into the equation.   
He is pretty Select, don't ya think?

Khali helped me in the kitchen canning the first two batches of tomatoes on Saturday and was an invaluable addition.  She is growing up so quickly!  Today she helped take care of the little two by making them a box train and pulling them around, and around, and around the house.   She had a good time in the creation of her idea, and the little kids had a good time snacking and riding around.  

I am all done with Tomatoes for this season.  Now I just have to deal with the boxes of apples.... but that is for another day.  I ordered a Victorio Food Strainer to help me with this project that will be here soon!  I'm actually a little excited about this next canning activity!  

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