September means tomatoes in my part of the world. I’ve slowed waaaay down from the peak of my homesteading effort. Back then, no fruit or vegetable was safe from me trying to find a way to boil it into a jar for later. I still do strawberry jam when we don’t have any (but we don’t use it very often any more, so the batch lasts for a few years), applesauce (cran or strawberry or blueberry or stone-fruit varieties), but really, the only other thing I do a LOT of, is tomatoes. This week, I made a bushel and a half of tomatoes into 20 jars of roasted tomato sauce.
My gentleman associate knows that I have a very serious case of Not Enough Tomatoes, so there’s also an additional bushel on my kitchen table right now to be just crushed into jars for sauce or chili or other from-scratch dishes all year. But if there’s not at least 52 jars, I feel like I’m slacking. But to make 52 jars, it takes time and energy. So yeah.
So to the gratitude, then?
I’m grateful that my mom and my uncles and my grandma made tomato sauce from scratch and passed that skill to me (even if I don’t use the same recipe to preserve – but I do use the same recipe to make fresh sauce or sauce from my passata)
I’m grateful that my gentleman associate does the water-bath part of the process.
I’m grateful that tomatoes are so abundant where I live, so it’s easy to get the kind I want (Roma or San Marzano). I’m grateful that I’m affluent enough to buy all the tomatoes and garlic and canning rings and olive oil do this preserving effort. I’m grateful that I have the strength and energy to complete the effort, and that I know when discretion is the better part of valour and I should definitely not buy another half-bushel.
I’m grateful that I happened upon the happy surprise of Tomato Powder (basically, drying and grinding the peels and guts of the tomatoes I preserve), and there is very little food waste from my yearly Tomato Adventure.
I’m grateful that the old canning pot that my grandma used a lifetime ago lasted as long as it has. Alas, this year, when we filled it with water to do start the water bath, we found a spot rusted through the bottom. To mourn the loss of our giant pot, I give you Henry and Liza:
If you can choose to be anything this week, friends, choose to be grateful.