Thursday, August 01, 2013

All Those Tomatoes

When I read Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods, one of the Blogs I follow, this morning I enjoyed reading about her tomatoes.  Reading about her tomatoes started me thinking about the tomatoes in my past. 

I don’t remember if my Father had a garden when we lived in North Carolina.  I do remember Dad having a garden when we moved from North Carolina to Allison Iowa.  I even have living proof about that garden because I still carry a scar on my finger which I managed to cut when cutting asparagus.  I am certain that Dad had tomatoes in that garden but I don’t remember having anything to do with tomatoes.

However I do remember Dad having tomatoes in the garden he had in the Luctor Christian Reformed Church large back yard.  Boy oh boy did Dad grow tomatoes and just about this time of the year August those of us who were old enough to help harvest would be put to work.  There we would be picking and picking those red ripe tomatoes filling baskets and baskets of the red fruit. 

While we would be outside sweating in the garden picking those tomatoes, our Mother would be in the kitchen filling large pots with water and putting it on the stove to bring to a boil.  Mom would use the boiling water to sterilize what seemed to be a room full of 1 quart canning jars.  Once Mom had sterilized the room full of canning jars, she would again fill the pots placing them on the stove and bringing to a boil. 

When the pots were busy boiling away filling the already hot kitchen with more steam and heat we would lug the baskets of ripe tomatoes into the kitchen.  There the older kids would place the tomatoes the boiling water for a short period of time until the skin would split.  Once that happened Mom would remove all the tomatoes in that pot and once it was back up to a boil would fill it with more tomatoes.  While waiting for the water to come to a boil and the tomatoes beginning to split their skins, we would move on to cutting the tomatoes into quarters and filling the quart jars making them ready for the canner.  There are a couple of things I remember not liking about canning those tomatoes is that when finished, your cuticles would be all red.  Also by this time the kitchen would be HOT and filled with steam.

Once we had skinned enough tomatoes that we could get along with one pot of hot water, Mom would put the canner on the stove, I just don’t remember if Mom used a pressure canner or if she used the water bath method of canning those quart jars filled with tomatoes.  After the canner of quart jars was finished, Mom would remove those quart jars from the canner and place on bath towels that covered the table.  Then we would all listen for the “Pop Pop” as those quart jars sealed their lids.

However when January would come and it was cold and snowy outside, all the discomfort of picking and canning those tomatoes would be forgotten when Mom would use some of those tomatoes.


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