Thursday, July 23, 2009

pantry work and seed saving

the pile of omelays has been aflutter with filling our pantry. our table has been covered with tomatoes for the past couple of weeks.

those two baskets regularly collect the morsels of tomato goodness. the table is the holding pattern.

this bowl is queued to blanch in that pot of boiling water just on the right.

it takes a few seconds until the skins loosen.

their next stop is the sink filled with cool water.

tabitha is slipping off the skin.

and cutting out the stem.

then quarter them to fit into the jar.

here they are cooking down a bit in our five gallon stockpot.

stir frequently.

here are the jars ricked-up for tomatoes.

steamy goodness.

here they are in the pressure canners. tabitha likes pressure canned tomatoes better. she claims that the quality is better.

notice the paper plate. during canning season we have been almost exclusively using them. sink and dishwasher space is at a premium. if we had tv-trays we would probably be using them too. remember the covered kitchen table? so far our tomato canning has culminated into over sixty quarts. we hope to double that number before we collapse into tomato stained heaps.

while my lovely wife busied herself with other mysterious canning activities i saved seed from our most glorious tomato specimens. here are two german-stripe-tomatoes that have had the skins removed. beautiful aren't they?

imagine a thick slab of this hiding your burger.

alas these will be canned as soon as i collect a little hope from them for next years garden. i slice them along their equator and jab my finger in each seedy section. the seeds ooze out into a jar labeled german-stripe.

i put the lid back on the jar and leave them to ferment for a few days. a white layer of mold covers the top of the goo. i fill the jar most of the way with water and shake vigorously. the floaty white stuff can easily be poured off along with most of the water. i usually repeat the first step two or three times until there are only clean seeds remaining. the seeds need to be strained and put on a piece of shiny paper to dry. paper towels don't work that well.

i am only saving seed from the german stripe, cherokee purple and amish paste tomatoes this year. i'll be sending small packets that contain each of these for christmas this year. if you'd like to get on our christmas mailer please comment here on my blog. i'll probably only have enough for a limited run including my prior commitments. so, first come first serve. this was a huge success two years ago with many happy seed recipients.

toly has his appointment in st. louis in a couple of weeks. he has been fine since his last episode. we will be attending the zoo while in the city. mostly we are looking forward to visiting with tansy


madchemist said...


I'm a long time lurker on the blog and would love a packet of german stripe if at all possible. We already grow the cherokee purples and amish pastes so it would be nice to round out the collection.


Cammie said...

I would love a packet of seeds. I read your blog daily (looking for updates) and have learned so much. How should I get you my address, as I would rather not leave it here for the world to see.

Cammie in TN

Cammie said...

Just realized my husbands business address is on the contact page of his website. You can use that address for the seeds.

Cammie in TN

Caroline said...


Your life with the kids is inspiring! I would love one of your packet seed.

Caroline Qc

Rixa said...

If I'm not too late, I'd love some of the seeds. I hope my garden has survived--we had to leave for 6 weeks this summer.

Roehrman said...

Can I join your seed list, please?
That tomato is beautiful! Miss you guys!

Wendy said...

Okay ... Wow! Sixty quarts! Tabitha truly is amazing!

I love the picture of the pressure canners on the stove top ;).

I can hardly wait for tomatoes to get ripe up here, but I think we probably have another month or so. With all of the cool, wet weather we've been having, the two greenhouse-started plants I have are just now starting to fruit, and the "from seed" plants haven't even flowered, yet. Oh, well.

It's cool to see all of the tomato canning goodness down your way. It gives me hope :).

heartchild said...

I would love to be on the seed list. Tomatoes are better than just about anything. Ours here in the NW won't be ready until late August/September. You guys are going great!

*Michelle* said...

If you still have room on your seed list, I would be a very grateful recipient. As I do not have nearly the garden space you do, I would probably share with my local gardening buddy. I very much appreciate how grounded in reality your blog is-- no hazy, set-up photos of fantasy gardens here! Love it.

Michelle in WA

Megan said...

Wow. That is tasty looking! We are growing some tomatoes specifically designed for our area, Willamette, and some Stupice this year, along with some mysteries that aren't doing so well (I think they may be yellow pears). I would love to try some new seeds this year. I'll also happily send along what I am able to save from our tiny garden.

Julia said...

Oh goodness. If I could get on your seed mailing list I would be THRILLED! I am inspired by your family's achievements. I really enjoy reading the two O'Melay blogs. I hope for all the best for your family; especially little Anatoly. What a super trooper!



jenny said...

Oh oh, how generous of you, I'd love to have some of those lovely seeds! Is it that easy to save seeds? I may try this myself then, the next time I have a good crop of tomatoes.

I haven't had a single tomato yet, the way mine look now, I'll be lucky to can 10 quarts. I may have to go to the farm stand and buy a bushel of tomatoes to make up for it. dang it!

Northwoods Baby said...

I would love some of your seeds, and I'd be happy to send you some of mine. Have you had a Black Krim yet? HOLY cow! I scored 60+ seedlings from a woman up the shore from us this year, almost all heirlooms. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Northwoods Baby said...

PS, we built your chicken tractor and are liking it quite a bit. We have to noodle with the wheels/axel a bit since we used smaller bushings than you did, I think, but all in all it's working out splendidly. I think we're going to put the meat birds in with the 7 remaining poults and hope for the best.

Beau said...

I need to find out your tomato secrets- ours haven't done nearly as well. Have an "Orange Oxheart" heirloom that is coming in well though. Love your canning stuff!

Danielle said...

we are looking forward to the visit as well! jaden keeps asking if today is the day kassi will be here. :D

your tomatoes are looking amazing. tabitha has been working her butt off with the canning, she is my hero.

tansy said...

oops...danielle was actually me...a friend used my computer the other day and i didn't notice she was still signed in!

LannaM said...

Well darnit, I'm late to the party yet again. Your Amish Paste tomatoes sound just fantastic. If you'd be up for a trade for any extra Amish Paste seeds I'd be thrilled beyond belief (right now the prides of my yard are indeterminate Purple Russians and determinate Kootenai, plus a bunch of other fun tomatoes out there, as well as some purple pole peas I've been growing out for my own fun little stash). :)

John & Drew said...

I just love your chicken coop... and garden!!!! I would LOVE seeds if you'll send it. 5209 felicia ave, livermore ca 94550. Love tomatoes, and seeds too.

Anonymous said...

Great canning and seed saving info! I am sharing with several of my garden pals.

I would love to get on your seed list for next year. If its OK to be added, my email is We can conenct for sharing mailing info.

Do you know about Wintersown? Great seed saving group a friend shared.

Thanks for sharing so much great information!!

Pam in Monroe WA

Belle said...

Howdy! If its not to late I would like to be on your mailing list for your beautiful seed gifts! I am a beginner gardener, I need all the help :)

Jan Christiansen said...

Hi Karl - I've written a humorous story about the time my mom was canning tomatoes and the canner exploded. I would love to add a picture to the story for my blog, but unfortunately, I do not own a canner. I was wondering if you would allow me to use your picture (the one with the canners on the stove). I would, of course, provide a link back to your blog and give you credit for the picture. You can see my story (Canned Laughter) here: Thanks for your consideration. I love your blog!

karl said...

Jan, sure no problem.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...