Farm to Fork

Exploring the Joy of Harvesting and Cooking Tomatoes

Kim Vansant

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Photo by Dennis Klein on Unsplash

I’ve had a sinus and ear infection, so I haven’t written much. I’ve been resting and napping in between my gardening chores. I’ve canned many pickles, dehydrated zucchini shreds, chips, picked and dried onions, and processed garlic.

Today the real work begins. I’m about to be inundated with tomatoes. I love tomatoes, but growing, taking care of, harvesting, and preserving our bounty is a lot of work.

Stewed tomatoes are going to be my first method of preserving this week. Got the tomatoes, celery, peppers, onions, and garlic straight from the garden without needing to go to the store to buy anything, well, at least not right now. I’ll probably run out of celery and green peppers.

Stewed tomatoes are easy to do and are so versatile. I use them in Italian and Mexican dishes, and my husband surprised me last winter with an excellent Swiss steak. I thought he used the complicated recipe that I had written down in the cookbook. Nope. He just opened a quart jar of the stewed tomatoes, dumped it on top of the browned steak, and let it simmer till tender.

I use the Ball canning book and follow the stewed tomato recipe, which includes celery, onion, and green pepper. I pressure can because of the added vegetables.

To make it even easier, forget the extra veggies and do the tomatoes by themselves with skin removed, and you can use them for just about any dish that calls for tomatoes. This can be water-bathed.

Canned stewed tomatoes can be used in various recipes throughout the year. Here’s a step-by-step guide to canning stewed tomatoes:

Note: Proper canning requires careful attention to safety and hygiene. It’s essential to follow USDA-approved canning methods to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and ensure the safety of your canned tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Ripe tomatoes (choose firm, blemish-free tomatoes)
  • Lemon juice or citric acid (for acidity)

Equipment:

  • Canning jars (Mason jars) with new lids and bands
  • Large pot for blanching tomatoes

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Kim Vansant

Homesteader, gardener, chicken tender-er, feral cat whisperer.