Friday, August 22, 2008

Who the Hell Cans

Me, I inspire local eating. OK, between some casework this afternoon I helped my wife a bit. I peeled about 20 tomatoes and de-seeded maybe five. Me, I applaud the effort my wife makes towards our eat local eating. I did just come down and wash a few bowls. I did the really fun job: shove things down the garbage disposal.

Who the hell cans.

There are very good reasons for canning food. Firstly, probably foremost, it allows you to eat local for many months after the market closes. Canning allows you to find fine product, and grab it for when the time is needed. It can save a lot of money. We got an ungodly amount of Michigan tomatoes, a full bushel, for under $17. We will have at least 15 quarts of canned tomatoes. Lastly, canning spares precious freezer space.

Who the hell cans.

Maybe, someone's day would not start quite like my wife's, consulting 43 or so cook books. She was most vexed by the choice of acid. Most recipe's, including Ball, which we would trust the most, call for lemon juice. She found vinegar based recipes.

Who the hell cans.

The cleaning of jars. The sanitizing. Score tomatoes. The boil. The shock. How much ice do you have. Peel. Seed. Pack. Process. Some say 45. Some say 50.

Who the hell cans.

We have barely made a dent in our bushel of tomatoes.


Bruce said...

Sounds like a nightmare. Have you thought about oven drying them?

VI said...

Our kitchen is un-airconditioned, so oven drying is low on the list about now. I think to make things easier, my wife is going to try a few other recipes, sauces, purees, that require less work.

On the other hand, for the tsores mentioned, I also mentioned the good things about canning. For a localvore, it's worth the trouble, especially if you have a great wife like me.

Virtual Farmgirl said...

Chicago Locavores is sponsoring a canning party on September 20-21. I'm signed up so I can learn!

sdritz said...

My former next door neighbor offered to teach me a few years ago. Unfortunately, I procrastinated and she passed away last year. I may have to come peel veggies for you in your kitchen to learn how.

VI said...

A canning party is a great idea.

It's not that canning is tricky in a rocket science sense of tricky. It's just a lot of damn work. Worth that can be very worthwhile as I keep on saying.

rachael said...

I usually use a food mill for tomatoes. There aren't big chunks of tomatoes but it's infinitely easier than peeling & seeding by hand. I'll do a small portion of tomatoes by hand for some texture, but mostly I find the food mill's the way to go. I use all of my tomatoes for pasta sauce though, so if you're planning on other uses the food mill may not be ideal.

Jen said...

I have not canned myself, but I have heard that the using vinegar for the acid produces more of an "off" flavor than using lemon juice. There are a lot of food safety issues, my best source is the National Center for Home Food Preservation Have fun!