I Had To Wait, But Now There Are Tomatoes

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It took a long time this year, but now I have tomatoes! The plants look pathetic but the tomatoes are great, juicy and sweet.

Because they ripened slowly and not too many at one time, I’m trying something different this year. Instead of canning them, I found a page on the Internet on how to freeze them either whole or put them in the food processor and chop or juice them. It’s really easy and I hope they are OK. I’ll use them for soups, stews and pasta sauce. They’ll cook for a long time that way and if I have them chopped too coarsely, I can let them cook down or pulse them in the food processor when they’re thawed.

It’s an experiment for right now! I’ll also use some of the tomatoes to make homemade ketchup. It’s a great recipe from one of my Amish cookbooks.

Easy Tomato Ketchup

3 quarts tomato juice (I use my fresh tomatoes to make the juice)
1 pint 5-percent cider vinegar
4 to 5 cups sugar to taste (I use brown sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 onion quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons dry mustard

Add all ingredients to large pot and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until very thick. Remove onion pieces and cinnamon sticks. Fill pint jars and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes (0-1,000 feet, 20 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet, 25 minutes at 6,001 to 8,000 feet). Yields 4 to 5 pints.

The zucchini and cucumbers produced fairly well but the vines died off way too early.

I added some of the zucchini, in chunks, to some of the tomatoes to freeze. I can use the combination for casseroles and pasta sauce.

I also made and canned several batches of pickles, both dill and sweet.

The apples are so abundant, I made the first batch of apple butter yesterday. I’ll probably have enough apples to make enough apple butter to give a jar to everyone in Bellville!

A friend has a tree service and had a BIG job, cutting down 70 trees on one property. He offered us two loads to cut up for our winter wood supply for the outdoor wood furnace. I had no idea he was bringing such huge trees!

I keep hearing this will be an “El Nino” winter, so we should have more than enough wood for this winter and next!