First tomatoes in the jars

First of the canning this year.
First of the canning this year.

On Saturday I was finally able to gather enough tomatoes to even start the canning process. The result was two quarts and one pint of soup. It wasn’t enough to use the original recipe, but I was able to adjust a bit. Basically to get the consistency of soup, you need to add butter and flour for thickening. I have finally realized the whole thing is about patience. To get the thickening right, you need to add the flour very slowly and keep whisking rapidly. I did it this time as the soup was boiling slowly in the large pot that I use. I had, as noted two and a half quarts of soup in the pot. To that I added 1/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 tablespoon of canning salt and a table-spoon of lemon juice to ensure the acidity level. I dropped in 1/3 stick of nearly frozen butter. I usually use the frozen because it forces me to keep boiling the soup as the butter melts. After it was melted, I whisked in 1/2 cup of flour. I added the flour while sifting it very slowly with my left hand and whisking like mad with my right. I should have added more flour, but I could feel myself losing patience and since I had no lumps, I was taking no chances. The best way to serve this it to cut up really ripe tomatoes and add them in chunks along with about a cup of milk. The real recipe calls for a bit of soda to prevent the milk from curdling, but I find that if I add it slowly, I never have any problems. I try to keep the taste of salt to a minimum. This particular batch actually has a sweet flavor to it, it might be the amount of sugar, but it could have something to do with the flavor of the tomatoes. Making soup is really lots of tasting and making sure it is what you prefer, as long as you have the acidity in there, you should be ok with the preservation. I did not do any water bath with these three jars because there were only three. I will store them in the fridge and use them quickly. With a full batch, I would boil them in the canner kettle for 20 minutes.

Tomatoes currently on the table waiting to be used.
Tomatoes currently on the table waiting to be used.

There are still lots of tomatoes on the table waiting to be used. Most of them are just not ripe enough to put them in the water to wash up for the canner kettle. The big problem with this amount is that there are enough to want to eat them, but not enough to get anything in the canner. I did a bit of an inventory of the shelves in the basement, and I will not be making any salsa this year. We have a good amount of whole tomatoes left from last year, but the juice is nearly gone and the soup is low with the spaghetti sauce even lower. Fortunately there are bags of frozen tomato paste in the freezer, so I know we will get through the winter without needing to purchase anything tomato.

Enough on the garden for today. I will get back to work on something or other instead of just sitting and watching beach volleyball. Happy Gardening to you!!!

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