So, remember that time I spent a month building raised beds and putting in gravel walkways and shoveling 3000 pounds of soil in the rain just so that four months later I could spend hours inexpertly canning salsa out of four trillion tomatoes and then do lots and lots of dishes?


Yeah. I might have seen that going differently in my head. (By “differently” I mean I was picturing a scenario in which I actually knew what the hell I was doing. And none of it was dishes.)


But, hey look, salsa!


There were several sweaty hours between those two photos in which I managed to cover myself and most of the kitchen in tomato guts. For all I know, in six months I’m going to die from botulism for eating this stuff, but right now I feel like I’ve taken a tiny first step into the most basic of farm functions– both producing food and then preserving it.

And that was just the first wave. I expect to be canning things basically every night this week and until the End of Life As We Know It (by which I mean Winter.)


And then maybe I’ll scrape those tomato seeds off my kitchen wall.


EDIT: For those of you who asked for recipes, I’ve been mixing and matching a few things out of this book.

22 Responses

  1. You pretty much described my first canning experience this summer!

    Green beans went well. Took 4.5 hours and I made 3 quarts of green beans. Yes. Three.

    Pickles totally bombed. Made 5 quarts and 5 pints. Let them set for month and tried my first pickle. Texture was pure mush. They all went into the trash.

    I am just about ready to start salsa.

    I still have no clue what I am doing.

  2. I am also on the canning bandwagon, and I am a total newbie. Please post the salsa recipe!

    I just made apple cranberry jelly (one of my first blog posts, the best pic is the last one), as well as pickled green beans, regular old pickles, and pickled zucchini and summer squash. I have not shared the bounty with anyone in my family yet (except the jelly) because I am convinced I will be poisoning them.

    I know people say they don’t like to freeze things because of power outages, but I really, really, really like my FoodSaver. I have bundles of blanched green beans and kale ready to go for winter.

  3. Would love to see the salsa recipe you used. I’ve just started canning myself (canned some jalapenos last year, and haven’t died from eating them yet!) and it is quite an adventure.

    P.S. I’m totally jealous of your tomato crop. my one plant hasn’t produced much this year. I fear I’ve lost my green thumb!

  4. One year I had an enormous crop of tomatoes. After canning until I was sick of it, I peeled and cut them into quarters and froze them in freezer bags. During the middle of winter if I was making any dish with tomatoes or tomato sauce, I could add as many frozen heirloom tomatoes to the dish as I wanted. Spaghetti sauce, lasagna, soup, whatever. The flavor was great!

  5. Oh yummm…I would try some marinara sauce with all those tomatoes too…garlic, onion and tomato, puree and can.

  6. Got string beans? Do this. Seems less messy, and I can attest to them having an amazing flavor:

    Recipe for Dilly Beans. 3 1/2 cups Water, 3 1/2 cups White vinegar, 6 Tbls pickling salt, 4 lbs green beans trimmed, 21 black peppercorns, 7 tea hot pepper flakes (less if you like not so hot), 1 Tbls mustard seed, fresh dill (head for each jar), 7 cloves garlic. Combine water, vinegar and salt in pan, bring to a boil. Pack beans in hot sterilized jars. Divide remaining ingredients between jars. Pour boiling liquid over beans leaving 1/2″ headspace. Seal, Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

  7. I want to see a picture of your garden how it looks now. I love looking at people’s gardens. Oh, great job canning. You rock!

  8. After canning all my peaches and pears for the last time a year ago I went out and cut all three trees down (they’d had some major damage from the weight of the fruit anyway). It was hard but has made my life much easier. This year I did not start completely stressing out in April when they started blooming because I knew it would just mean do much work in August. This was supposed to be a two-person place when I planted them 9 years ago. Someone else was going to be irrigating and mowing. Although I truly miss the fresh peaches, I do not miss processing them!

  9. Please tell me you used a mud mixer or a chop box to dice the tomatoes…… There MUST have been some kind of power tool involved.

  10. Yep, here too. Except my tomato haul consisted of about 40 pounds of free tomatoes from a friend, which is now sitting on my counter in the form of several quarts and pints of tomato juice and tomato sauce. Nothing better than opening it in the dead of winter and smelling summer in a jar. Yum! 🙂 Your salsa looks great!

  11. I always do the canned tomatoes because my family loves them very much. A lot of wonderful soups and sauces can be made from such tomatoes and of course they can serve as an appetizer for any meat dishes.

  12. You need to have one of those tomato strainers for making salsa and canning tomatoes. It’s been a few years since I canned tomatoes, but loved my tomato strainer, pulp out one way, seeds and skin out another!

  13. Have nothing to add on canning, but will just say I am thrilled to be able to at some point partake in the goods of said canning 🙂

  14. You should also check out the blog “Food in Jars” by Marisa (She has a book out too!). Excellent recipes and common sense advice 🙂
    YAY salsa!!

  15. If my tomatoes would only ripen up I would join you. At this point it looks like I’m going to have to make green salsa. We’ve already tarped the plants once to protect them from frost. I’m starting to worry we’re not going to get a nice red ripe tomato before the End of Life As We Know It.

  16. You should save some of those tomatoes and peppers along with some other stuff to make your own V8 for tomato beers! BEST STUFF EVER!

  17. Are you living in the Liberty house that I saw a few posts back? (2012-2011 posts) I’m new to this site and from what I can tell you have lived in a lot of different places. I also saw you were building another house, I don’t know, I’m just confused lol…

  18. Hey Kit!

    After, what 18?, months I finally realised you made the boxes from fencing! Yeah, I am a smart one; thanks for noticing. So we are making some boxes this weekend for the tomatoes which hopefully will be able to be planted sometime this millennium — at least the ice is off the lake, right?

    How many cages do you figure in the 3×6 box? 8? Last year I planted 5 to a row in a 4′ box. That was a bit crowded and … stupid.

    Thanks for all the great posts!

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