My kitchen smells like tomatoes. This is probably because approximately 125 lbs – 57 kg in metric – sprawls across my kitchen table in five glorious half-bushel bags. I fetched them from the grower this afternoon. I love that smell!
The Annual Big Tomato Crush happens tomorrow. Last year we turned 1 1/2 bushels of Roma tomatoes into sauce – and we still ran out before the spring. This year we’re almost doubling the amount of tomatoes. We’re looking forward to using big propane burners (think turkey fryers) outside, where we will not be limited by the small stovetop, and where we won’t be heating up the house.
So we’re turning this into a party. Let’s see, what’s on my prep list?
- schedule people to help (friends and minions to the rescue! They’ll take home jars, too.)
- secure outdoor propane burners and tanks (we’ll use 3 this year; the plan is to use 2 to cook the sauce and 1 to boil the jars, outdoors on the patio)
- assemble big pots, long stir paddles, and a huge ladle
- stack pint jars/lids/bands ready to sterilize and use (we have 9 1/2 dozen!)
- arrange canning tools: jar lifters, baskets, wire racks, trivets, etc.
- collect sufficient onions, garlic, and fresh basil leaves
- stock lunch materials and iced tea/lemonade/cold water
- pile clean dishcloths and towels in a handy basket
- plan the flow of work, from washing the tomatoes to letting the finished jars cool
- put the first-aid kit and vinyl gloves in a handy place
- set out the marking pens to label the lids
Watch for photos and thoughts on how to set up for next time soon to come. And remember, you don’t have to put up mass quantities every time you can – but when you do, have fun with it!