"Pretty good, you know, just keeping myself busy!" has become my usual response.
Busy may be a slight understatement for this time I'm at in my life. I've gone back to school, and am about halfway to an Associate's RN, and work as a CNA. I like to bake our bread instead of buy it, and this time of the year, "keeping myself busy," is never a problem.
My neighbor has a fence that is full of grapes, so I have made some jam and and some wine. I've gone back to Thompson's Strawberry Farm and picked raspberries - I made regular raspberry jam and something I'm calling Raspberry Limeade jam. My parents were out of the country when their pear trees were ready, so I harvested and canned most of them (I'm saving the non-can-able bits for pear cider, also called perry, but that will be a later project). I've canned up peaches from the farmer's market, and over the summer made 5 different kinds of pickles (fermented, dill, bread-n-butter, beets, and dilly beans).
|16 pints of pears - that's the same as 2 gallons!|
|I started with all the fresh tomatoes we had on hand that were ripe and not cherry tomatoes.|
|I love having quality knives.|
Quarter the tomatoes, then place them in your crock pot (I did 8ths for the larger tomatoes). I did take the stem ends off, but left on the blossom ends, especially on the roma (paste) tomatoes. We have a lot this year, so I'll probably be doing this a few times.
|Stir, then put a lid on it.|
Set your crock pot to low overnight.
In the morning, the tomatoes won't actually look too different, but the liquid around them should be bubbling a little, and they will all be soft and squishy. Then you know its time to mill. What I use is technically called a chinois strainer (pronounced sheen-wah), but its what my mother had, coupled with a fitted jelly bag, to make jelly or jam when I was a kid. No, seriously - this is her strainer. It works well to separate out the pulp and juice from the skins and seeds (also worked great last year for making apple butter).
|You will get sauce all over your counter doing this. Sorry.|
|...and it's saucy|