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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 01:51AM

Okay - now we're on topic.

I have 20something long keeper tomato plants. Look. If you never had a yard, and then you *did* have a yard, you'd have two dozen tomato plants, too.

The plants were looking pitiful and then BOOM. I have waaaay too many tomatoes too fast and they're still coming. I'm also saving seeds, so that helps.

I really, really love tomatoes. I bought mine from Adaptive Seeds (they had to evacuate their farm in Oregon due to the wildfires): They're not exactly roma or paste tomatoes. They're fleshy, not super watery, and they are sweet.

I have a book about preserving food: "So Easy to Preserve" published by the University of Georgia. If you decide to buy this book, buy it from the U of GA extension - it's $20, free shipping, no tax. Amazon will rip you off.

I need a pressure canner and everything. Everything. Does anyone have advice/tips/help not only about the canner but about the process, botulism, exploding jars, stuff like that?

I really need your help because I'm on a bipolar spending spree. Bipolar spending sprees are bad. Constraints are good. Lists are good. Me surfing the internet for canner reviews is a gateway drug. I'll forget I'm looking for a canner, and I'll end up buying a drone.

Have you ever been surprised when UPS delivers five crepe myrtles to your house? I was yesterday! Yup. I have five crepe myrtles I forgot I bought because I thought they might grow in THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. I must have read somewhere that it is possible, possible to grow them here. I bought four trees because you get a discount (SMH), and they sent me a BONUS tree. Awesome.

Back to the canning before I accidentally buy another tree.

I have zero canning supplies and a scary amount of tomatoes.

Thank you for your help. :-)

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 02:56AM

Maryland can tell you all about Crepe Myrtles. They are beautiful trees with a welcome shot of color when you need it most. But in the PNW? Not so sure about that. And 20 tomato plants? Wow. I think my family has about 12, and they really, really like tomatoes. Good luck with the canning.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:10AM

When I started the seeds, I didn't know how many would germinate. I probably started ::mumblemumble45mumble::

I gave them away online. I left them on people's doorsteps. I put them in a box labeled "FREE" on the sidewalk. And STILL I had 24 plants. Indeterminate tomatoes. I didn't know what an indeterminate tomato was. Now I have 23 four-foot-high tomato vines growing on a rebar trellis. <-- not my trellis. The ducks killed one of the plants. Hurrah! They also hoover slugs and fertilize errrrythang.

I have *no* idea why I have these crepe myrtles. Tomorrow I'm going to plant them in 5-gallon buckets and leave them in the sunny area. I have one! I'll bring them inside around the first frost. I'll stick them in the ground next year. At least I didn't buy orange trees. Yet.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/19/2020 03:12AM by Beth.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 09:06AM

The crepe myrtles that we have in Maryland make it through the winter just fine (not sure about the baby trees.) The past couple of winters have been mild, but we normally get a few snowfalls or snowstorms, and even the occasional blizzard.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:20PM

Yeah. If the crepe (crape?) myrtles have any chance, they'll have to be inside this winter. None will grow into a true tree; they'll be more like shrubs. If they make it and grow relatively well, they'll hit about 6' and help keep the nosey neighbors away. I was looking for fast-growing shrubs, and somehow I ended up on a crepe myrtle site, annnnd...five crepe myrtles. SMH

The tomatoes are in full sun, so the crepe myrtles (I'm really tired of typing that for some reason), might do well over there. If you plant three in the same hole and tie the stems together, they'll fuse in a few years and look like a multi-color tree. Supposedly.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:14AM

You had me look up the spelling, and it looks like both are used. I didn't realize that the crepe myrtle can also be a shrub. I only see them as trees around here. It looks like the plant makes an attractive shrub.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:19AM

And they bloom twice a year! My poor pitiful twigs will be house plants this winter.

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 04:36AM

Just do regular canning for 'matoes. The hard part is skinning them. Hard because you have to play in boiling water. Get some of those dishwashing gloves that come up to your elbow. You will think it will be fine - buy and use the damn gloves. Think about what you want to use them for and except for the vinegar/salt you can spice them when you put them up. PUT A DATE ON THEM. They are not the most shelf stable. Make triple sure your lids pop or do them again. Respect the 'mato.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:22PM

I've got the gloves - I use them when scalding ducks. So I've got that.

Can I use the water canner pot for veg? The zucchini are going nuts.

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Posted by: notmonotloggedin ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 10:39AM

-tomato mill (a really good one works wonders but cheaper ones will do the job)
-Re-purposed beer bottles, caps and a bottle-capper
-Italian tomatoes (San Marzanos are great)
-Lemon juice (just a bit per bottle to guarantee proper acidity.
-Basil leaves

Wash and sterilize all equipment. Wash tomatoes and send through the mill (send seeds and skin back through a few times). Put milled tomatoes in bottles, cap. Put in boiling water bath for 40 minutes.

You can add salt and/or olive oil. Of course, I'm making assumptions here based on what New Yorker of Italian descent would do with extra tomatoes from the garden. Depending on your geographical location/ethnic background, you may not relate.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:49PM

Thank ya!

Mostly I'll be making diced because that's what I buy the most from the store. I'll be making sauce, juice, salsas, paste, straight up plain tomatoes, stewed - I'm going to have that many tomatoes.

Once I had a tomato bush on my patio. It behaved. I don't know what I was expecting from these beasts, but it sure wasn't at least 50 lbs. *especially* because we went below 50ºF several times this summer.

These guys are still flowering, and they'll keep going until the first frost. Then I'll pick all of the tomatoes and store them in a dry, cool spot without them touching. They'll continue to ripen. Some of long keeper varieties are able to overwinter. I'll try that with a few. The rest of the vines I'll chop and drop.

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 12:23PM

Try drying? They are tasty, and ready to eat when you are [ready to eat them].

I had a surplus once, so besides putting them up, and drying them, we made casseroles: potatoes tomatoes cheese potatoes cheese tomatoes cheese layers....

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:49PM

Yes - I'm definitely thinking of drying some.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 02:05PM

I'm really weird about worrying about botulism with tomatoes or green beans. I don't trust myself trying to can stuff.

I do two things with tomatoes from my yard so far. I only have two plants though. I make a ton of marinara sauce and freeze it in small portion freezer bags. When grandkids pop over and want spaghetti, it takes only moments to defrost and cook some pasta.

I keep a giant bowl of vinegar and oil (with some sugar and salt) in my fridge that I can add tomatoes and sliced cukes to whenever I pick them. I add a little bit of chopped onion, fresh basil and fresh parsley. Everything is from the garden. I like having one of my favorite salads available all summer.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 03:23PM

Ohhhhh. Nice.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 19, 2020 10:06PM

There's been a run on mason jars. This is the only place I could find them:

They didn't ask me for my EIN. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ They aren't really wholesale prices, anyway. My usual wholesaler is selling them at ~ $1.50/case of 12, but they are only filling reorders. Boo!

Some dirtbag on Amazon is selling a case of pint jars for $90.

How did *you* spend your Saturday?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/19/2020 10:10PM by Beth.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:33AM

From the ages of 16 to 23, I worked summers on a tomato farm (on a site which is now the McLaren Formula 1 Technology Centre:

Every week, I would bring home pounds and pounds of (free) overripe tomatoes. My mother used them to make soups (gazpacho mainly) which freeze well, pickle (UK-style pickle) and jam. Tomato jam is surprisingly nice.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 02:55AM

GAZPACHO! I'm going to make that tomorrow!

I have about three pounds on their way to the compost heap if I don't do something soon. Like tomorrow.

I eat them like apples. I've gone a week eating tomato sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Just ugh. Too many tomatoes. I can't believe I wrote that. Maybe I'll write a children's book, "Too Many Tomatoes" where the children are attacked by the vines and incorporated into the plants like the three-eyed raven was sucked up into that tree in GOT.

I found a canner, jars, tongs, and a super duper funnel. I'm especially stoked about canning vegetable broth.

First order of business tomorrow: find a gazpacho recipe.

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Posted by: Pooped ( )
Date: September 20, 2020 08:49PM

I'm useless for information. I'm a career gal that never learned the home arts from my mother, a master canner.

Mom canned lots of tomato juice and I don't remember her needing a pressure cooker. Boy do I wish I had Mom now that I have so much time on my hands. Now that she's gone I would love to learn her skills. Oh, well. Too late now. I did, however, learn to bake homemade bread.

Good for you girl. Just remember that it is better to use the more acidic tomatoes to avoid botulism. The sweeter and less acidic the tomato the more danger. But tomatoes are naturally acid so not too many people have problems with botulism.

Mom's tomato juice was delicious. Go girl!!!! Your family will love you and all your tomatoey goodness.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 21, 2020 09:09PM


It's me, the dog, the cats, the ducks, and the compost heap!

I picked 2 lbs today. O_o

Yeah - I'm not a fan of botulism, so citric acid goes in the bottom of each jar.

I've made a decision: I am going to can diced tomatoes and only diced tomatoes and what they become later in life is up to them.

I'm going to do what's called a cold or raw pack: I'm not going to cook them before I can them, which means I have to make extra sure there's no air trapped around the tomatoes. Gotta mash those suckers in the jars and use their juice and/or boiling water to fill in the blanks. I'll cut an x in the flower end, drop em in boiling water for 30-? seconds, drop them in an ice bath, slide the skins off, dice, throw maters seeds and juice in the jars. Process. Repeat.

When/if I'm more adept, I'll can all sorts of marvelous things. Maybe.

I make an inordinate amount of vegetable stock. If it's veg, and it's looking a bit peaked, into the Insta Pot! I always have some garlic or onions that are a bit past their prime. Into the Insta Pot! Man, that Insta Pot is a wondrous thing, but you can't use it for canning (yeah - I checked). I'm going to practice canning stock first.

Once I got over the fear that the Insta Pot was going to blow up, I thought, hmmmm...maybe the canner won't blow up.

These grand plans are based on the assumption that my orders for mason jars goes through. If I can't get jars, and I have no idea how many I'll need, well. Yeah.

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: September 21, 2020 09:20PM

My mother use to can a lot in the fall. In Utah the big thing is peaches and pears and then we'd have to eat them all winter. It was a lot of effort and the whole kitchen would become a sticky mess. It was an ordeal. Now days we buy them from Walmart already canned.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 21, 2020 09:28PM

If I could grow peaches here, I'd eat them all. ;)

maca, drowning in tomatoes was not part of the plan. I didn't think all the plants would take off. They were looking pretty bad up through August and them KABOOM!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2020 09:29PM by Beth.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: September 21, 2020 09:32PM storage ate my lunch money. I hate food storage.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 21, 2020 09:51PM

I just wrote food storage to make it on topic. I'm sorry, Don. Your father was one of the worst people I've ever heard of, and I'm sorry that I reminded you of him.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 21, 2020 09:56PM

He's a magnanimous man. Just send him some bottled tomatoes and he'll forgive you.

Bottled tomatoes and a fifth of a nice whisky.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: September 22, 2020 11:14AM

I always plant several tomato plants, hoping to get a lot of fruit. At the end of the season and after eating them fresh, I pick the rest off, cut them into chunks and cook them in a pot until they are all soft and mushy. I let that cool, then run it through a blender. I pour the sauce into quart size freezer bags and freeze them. Then I use it for soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, etc. all winter. Easy to do, and keeps well in the freezer. I lay them flat on a cookie sheet to freeze them, or I stand up several bags in a loaf pan and freeze. Then they stack nice in the freezer.

I have a canning set up I got on Amazon, but didn't get enough from the garden to use it this year, so I froze my green beans. I did make some yummy corn relish though! 3 and a half quarts, stove top method, keeps well in the refrigerator.

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Posted by: BrightAqua ( )
Date: September 22, 2020 11:34AM

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