My mom and dad had an azzload (to put it mildly) of tomatoes in their garden, which  my mom was oh-so-gracious to share with me.  I don’t like tomatoes in their raw form.  I will eat them in soups, stews, and salsas, but don’t you dare expect me to eat one raw.  Don’t care what kind it is or how good it is for me.  I take vitamins to make up for those types of deficiencies.  There are tomato recipes I want to make, but have never because I don’t like tomatoes.  I even went to hypnosis once and tried to be hypnotized to like tomatoes.  Didn’t work.  I think it may have had more to do with the noise outside the room and the fact I kept peeping with one eye to see if others around me were being hypnotized.  Didn’t work for them, either.  They were peeping at me.   But I love homemade salsa and it’s one of a few of my signature dishes people request.  (Love “signature dish.” Sounds sooo……important.  Wow.  I’m important. Even if only my mind)

Anyway, Mom had this awesome garden with lots and lots of tomatoes.  So, I picked up about 30 lbs of tomatoes from her.  For salsas and sauces, you should use a sauce tomato (Roma tomatoes are the best sauce tomato).  These weren’t sauce tomatoes, so it would involve an extra step of squeezing the excess juice out of them so my salsa wouldn’t be so water.   Hey, but I’m making salsa – one of my true loves.  To begin making salsa you need a pot of boiling water and then a bowl of ice water.  You must peel the tomatoes.  You drop them in boiling water, once the skin pops/rips, you take them out and put them in the ice bath to stop the cooking and you peel the skin off.  No problem.  Unless you’re doing 30 lbs of tomatoes.  Then it’s a pain in the arse.  But not so bad.  Then you have to squeeze the little suckers to get the excess liquid out.  Okay, not a problem.  Squeezing isn’t a big deal.  Unless it’s 30 lbs of tomatoes.  Then it’s a pain the arse.  See a pattern developing?  I used my Ninja blender and my food processor to do all the heavy work for me, except they don’t skin tomatoes or squeeze the excess liquid, so, really, all it did was chop and I did all the heavy work.

Ingredients:  A boat load of tomatoes, onions, green peppers, lots jalapeno peppers, cilantro, salt.  Oh, did you know you should use pickling salt?  Table salt can cause your canned goodies to look brownish…won’t affect the taste, only the look.  *sigh* Missed that somehow.  Some more stuff and vinegar.  You have to have the vinegar – something about pH and not spoiling.  I’m not a scientist; I just followed the directions.  Then you gotta cook it for an hour or so.  Then you boil your jars (or put them in the dishwasher to sanitize, but you gotta keep them hot), and your rings and lids in a pot of boiling water.  This is a lot of work, but it’s worth it because I make really good salsa, if I may say so.   30 lbs of tomatoes makes a lot of salsa.  A lot.  A whole.freaking.lot.  I used jelly size jars so I wouldn’t have to worry about using it all before it spoiled from being opened.  Ran out.  Had some pint jars.  Used those, too.  Sent Will to store and told him quart instead of pint and have big jars of salsa, too.  Then once you fill your jars, wipe the mouth of the jar with a clean towel, put the lid and ring on and boil them in a hot water bath.  20-35 minutes depending on the size of the jar.  I boiled them.  Removed them from the water bath.  Set them gingerly on towels on my kitchen counter to call and I called my mom when I heard my first “ping.”  (that’s how you know the jar has sealed).  They all pinged and they all sealed and I was sooo happy.  The problem? I hate the way it tastes.  I can taste the vinegar and I don’t like it.  At all.  Will says it’s good, but he loves jarred salsa and I don’t so much.   Damn.

Brilliant canning idea number two…Spaghetti sauce!  Fudge.  More peeling, cooling and squeezing of the tomatoes.  Another 20 lbs.   The lady whose sauce I used is supposed to make some of the best around, so I trusted it.  I bought the pickling salt because the last thing I want is a jar that looks like gravy I can’t get anyone to eat.   So I boiled, cooled, peeled, squeezed, chopped, cooked, canned.  Her recipe called for 2 cups of oil.  I don’t use two cups of oil for anything, so I only used a little olive oil for flavor…in the neighborhood of about 1/4 cup – MAX.   I hate it.

Two batches of homegrown goodness processed into something that should make us taste summer all year long and they suck.  Tomatoes are so time consuming to process, that I don’t think it’s worth it, but I know so many others will disagree and that’s fine.  I have all the necessary tools to attempt it again, so if someone wants to share their recipes with me, I’ll be willing to take another shot next year.  Maybe.

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