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
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