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Enjoying all my Hard Work

January 27th, 2010

When I read this quote in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine a while back I loved it. It’s so true that home canned tomatoes are like opening up a jar of summer. Yesterday I cracked open 6 pints of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to make some sauce. All these wonderful tomatoey meals in the winter make all the hard work growing and canning tomatoes worth it!

I think if I could only preserve one thing from the garden to eat in the winter I’d choose tomatoes.

What would you choose?

26 Comments to “Enjoying all my Hard Work”
  1. Mangochild on January 27, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Oh yes!! This is so true. I was eating some salsa and some ketchup I had canned this summer, and it just brought back all of these memories of picking the tomatoes and other veg, preparing them and canning them – even remembering the exact day with the sunlight, the temperature, the feel of the kitchen floor… like being transported and seeing all that work come back in a satisfying way.

    If I could have only one summer item… that’s hard. I think tomato for the “veg” and likely peaches for the “fruit”. Both for me are the height of summer. Many of my other favorites have a longer growing season, extending into the cooler days of fall or the early spring. But these are at their peak in the hottest days, and I love them.
    .-= Mangochild´s last blog ..Choosing Seeds ā€“ So Many Choices! =-.

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  2. tigress on January 27, 2010 at 8:11 am

    if i could only preserve one thing? that is so hard! i think mine changes from year to year because i fall in love with something new, or i deeply miss what i wasn’t able to preserve that year. tomatoes are high on my list this year since we didn’t see any due to blight. :(
    .-= tigress´s last blog ..can jam january round-up: citrus =-.

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  3. Ken Toney on January 27, 2010 at 8:40 am

    My 14 month old loves green beans, so I would say that they are my favorite. He’ll eat almost every vegetable, but they are by far his favorite. Last summer, he would go to the garden with me and eat fresh beans while I picked a half bushel for canning that night. This year I am planning on 3 rows for us and a row for him.
    .-= Ken Toney´s last blog ..The New Growing Challenge =-.

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  4. kitsapFG on January 27, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Oh tomatoes are definitely “the one” if I had to choose. Unfortunately, I moved from hot dry sunny central Washington state to wet cool cloudy maritime coastal Washington state about five years ago. Since then I have had to relearn how to grow tomatoes and have never had the bounty of them that I did at my previous homestead. I have to pull out all the stops, make no mistakes, and have luck on my side to get a good tomato harvest at this homestead. Possible but the odds are stacked up against me each and every year. I got a passable harvest this past year before blight took all of the patch down for the season.

    I have been steadily using my jars of preserved items (including tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and salsa), dry storage, and my freezer items to supplement our fresh winter harvest crops. By far the most satisfying to open and smell are the pears, peaches, and tomatoes.

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    • Susy on January 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      I know what you mean, I have hardly any full-sun area so my tomatoes don’t produce as much as they would if I had a nice sunny garden plot. I loved dried tomatoes as well!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Jane on January 27, 2010 at 10:08 am


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  6. Rhonda on January 27, 2010 at 10:08 am

    They are my favorite food ever. BUT, I’m a tomato snob and won’t have anything to do with store bought or restaurant tomatoes. They’ve gotta be home grown!

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

    • Susy on January 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      They’re so much better for sure! I love Principe Borghese for drying, super delicious!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Tree on January 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Blueberries. I buy tons in the summer, and freeze the ones that aren’t eaten on the way home. I love blueberries for smoothies, pancakes, muffins, warmed with milk and oats…..
    .-= Tree´s last blog ..Hodgepodge =-.

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  8. Seren Dippity on January 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I haven’t learned how to can. It is on my to do list and hopefully, this summer I’ll get enough from the garden to do so.
    Tomatoes are my favorite summer veggie. I’ve never had them home canned, well, that I remember…. I probably had them at my grandma’s as a kid. As for canned foods? I LOVE home canned green beans better than fresh ones. Really. Or at least I loved my grandma’s better than anything.
    Growing up we’d visit grandma for two weeks each summer. She always canned extra green beans just for us to take home. I remember how we would ration those beans. I remember getting mad if mom cooked any for company, even knowing that she would only do so if it was extra special company.
    Dad has always had a garden and mom freezes some things, but she never has canned. I just realized that I have never ask her why not. We will be celebrating her 70th birthday next month.
    .-= Seren Dippity´s last blog ..The MAGIC of gardening… =-.

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    • Susy on January 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm

      Well, tomatoes are great first place to start canning!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Throwback at Trapper Creek on January 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I would have to say tomatoes since salsa, sauce, whole tomatoes, and juice all figure in so many meals.

    But really, raspberries are my favorite to eat in the winter!
    .-= Throwback at Trapper Creek´s last blog ..The long view ā€“ animals on the farm or The continuing saga of the Cloverwood Chronicles =-.

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  10. Melissa on January 27, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I completely concur! It’s all about the tomatoes. They factor into so many meals we eat in winter. :) Melissa
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..In the Kitchen: Frugal Tips =-.

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  11. The Mom on January 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Tomatoes are certainly the most coveted in our house. In lean years (like this one), they can only go in certain dishes and all other things get the inferior store bought tomatoes. I keep hoping for an over abundant tomato year, so that I can have a back up. So far that hasn’t happened.
    .-= The Mom´s last blog ..What I’ve Been Doing This Week =-.

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    • Susy on January 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      So true, the more I can the more we eat! I definitely need to can more diced tomatoes, I always run out. I think this year I finally have enough tomato soup in the pantry.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Rachel on January 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I agree! This morning I opened up a jar of whole ones I had canned this last summer. It is for our dinner tonight of Chicken Paprikash. Our own tomatoes and our own chicken! I am looking forward to coming home to it.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..a recipe =-.

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  13. Andrea on January 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    It’s got to be tomatoes. Last night I made a wonderful spaghetti squash casserole with homemade tomato sauce. My husband was very impressed with how much better the home canned sauce tasted vs. store bought sauce.

    I also love to dehydrate little cherry tomatoes. They become so sweet and they’re easy to add to just about anything. Actually, I have to hide them from my 3 year old because he loves them. He calls them, “tomato candy.”

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  14. melissa on January 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Definitely, definitely tomatoes. I am only a few jars away from running out and I am kicking myself that I did not can more last fall. Won’t be making that mistake again.

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  15. Kelly on January 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    That’s a hard one. I’m salivating over all the garden will produce this year already, given what we had last year. Tomatoes, however, we had none last year. The blight hit us *hard*. I’ve never canned *myself* so this year will be a big learning curve with tomatoes at the top. I think, however, I most miss homemade pickles. My German grandparents made the best and I’m hoping I can come moderately close this year.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Additional Greens =-.

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    • Susy on January 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      I have an old farmhouse cookbook given to me by my mil. I made some of the 14-day sweet pickles and they’re the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve never liked sweet pickles). I can’t wait to try some of the dill and other fermented pickles.

      I think you’ll find that canning tomatoes is super easy!

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  16. stefaneener on January 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Mmmmm, frozen blueberries.

    I must open tomatoes and make sauce today.
    .-= stefaneener´s last blog ..Harvest Monday? =-.

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  17. Miranda on January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I ordered the pressure canner and can’t wait to use it!!!!!!!
    Definitely my favorite summer saved item is tomatoes – the rest is so much better fresh that it just wouldn’t be the same (eggplant, beans, peppers) though i look forward to trying all sorts of crazy preservation measures on whatever i get to grow this summer.
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Help me choose some Homesteading products =-.

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  18. Pampered Mom on January 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Ditto on the tomatoes!
    .-= Pampered Mom´s last blog ..Making a Record =-.

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  19. Conny on January 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Definitely Tomatoes! I think that this summer I’ll try to grow “too many” because there are never enough. Last season’s harvest was dreadfully small; lots of blossoms but only 4 “set.”

    Wonderful photographs.
    .-= Conny´s last blog ..Corner View: my favorite hangout =-.

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  20. MAYBELLINE on January 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz =-.

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  21. the inadvertent farmer on January 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    For my family it would have to be apples made into sauce…but for me personally it is like you tomatoes all the way! Kim
    .-= the inadvertent farmer´s last blog ..Painting an old Antique Oak Chair a Fun Craft =-.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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