Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Canning Continues

I exploded out of my comfort zone cooking wise and attempted home made ketchup this week. I've been saving and freezing all the tomatoes that are coming off my tomato bushes with this in mind. I ended up with 20 lbs of tomatoes (I did have to supplement with 5 lbs from my mom) and got down to business.

I found a recipe online which seemed pretty straightforward and simple at first glance. After prepping 20 lbs of tomatoes, I barely managed to fit them in three of my largest pots (one was borrowed) and cooked them down for about an hour.

Next came running it through a juicer/grinder. What a hot, sticky mess! Just imagine hot liquid flying everywhere, juice running down my cabinets, and the smell of hot vinegar and celery seed combining to form a noxious odor and you'll have a point-on mental picture. Oh, did I mention I started this all @ 8:30 pm. The recipe called for cooking the tomatoes down for 12 hours in the I did it overnight. Any way, I got the tomatoes juiced and mixed all the extra ingredients in and then poured the whole mess into two crockpots for the night and wearily crawled into bed.

I went downstairs 6 hours later, I had to get Kyla to the bus stop, and it had only cooked down a half inch! What!!! I didn't want to deviate from the recipe, I was sure that they knew what they were talking about. Hmm, turns out, not so much:) After another 6 hours and 1 more inch, I calmly and carefully (Hah!) put the tomato puree back on the stove and let it cook down for almost 3 hours. Then I actually had to do the canning! I filled my waiting glass pint jars and gazed in utter shock at my six measly pints of ketchup. All this work and I got six pints of ketchup.

Thankfully the canning went smoothly and my six precious jars all sealed.

I must admit though, It's pretty darn good ketchup:) Is it good enough to slave away again next year? We'll just have to wait and see:) Maybe it's like forget the large chunks of unpleasantness and remember the amazing end result. Like I said, we'll just wait and see.

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