Saturday, August 22, 2009

Suzy Homemaker Takes on Canning

I am in the midst of canning my own salsa. We have so many tomatoes (and they are so big, but I will save commenting on them in a later post where I voice my concerns that we are living on radioactive land, a la Gilligan's Island) so I am doing something fiscally responsible with them. I read somewhere that in this recession people are getting closer to their roots.

I took Aaron out to pick some of the tomatoes. I thought he would get a kick out of it because he's always been interested in growing things.

"C'mon," I say, pulling his eyes away from some stupid television show, "let's go pick some tomatoes from the garden!" This is, of course, spoken in my happy mother channeling the Romper Room Lady voice.

"Why?" he groans, "This is the worst day ever."

I resist smacking him. "I thought you would think this is cool! These are tomatoes we've grown ourselves!" Yes, still Romper Room Lady.

We walk the 15 feet to the garden (that's the back corner of the "back forty") and I point out the red tomatoes we need to pick.

"Are there thorns? I really hate thorns." He's sounding a little panicked as he catches site of the mutant rose bush that shares the tomato garden.

At this point you might think he's overreacting, but this rose bush is frightening! It has thorns on every single millimeter of stem from ground to tip of the branches. Some are huge and some are almost cactus-like. No matter what, it's scary!

I point out how he can go around the rose bush and the tomatoes and get into the corner and reach the ripe ones. He stops to feel every single branch he's going to pass by.

"Is this thorny? What about this one?"

"Those aren't thorns," Romper Room Lady (RRL) says, "the branches are a little furry on the tomato bushes!"

He picks the first one and heaves it into the bowl I'm holding. "Don't throw them!" RRL chirps, "we don't want them bruised!"

(At that point I am completely unaware that the tomatoes will soon be pulverized in the food processor. There's no chunky salsa in Klineville!)

He reaches for another tomato and yells out, "I hate webs as much as I hate thorns!"

"Isn't this fun!?" RRL chirps. "We're really getting close to nature! We're living on the land!"

Aaron rolls his eyes. I resist the urge to smack them back into place because RRL continues to channel through me.

We get done. Aaron has collected about 10 tomatoes. We walk the 15 feet back to the house and Aaron announces he's done and going out to play. Sure, ask for a little work to be done, and out the door they all head!

My idea was to have chunky salsa. But I forgot that the food processor doesn't do chunky very well. So it's liquid salsa. Tomatoes sure are squishy! I don't follow recipes, so I made up my own.

Tomatoes, approximately 15
Onion, 1
Jalapeno peppers (seeded), 7
Garlic, 2 heaping spoon fulls
Cilantro, 4 giant handfuls, washed

The neighbor boy, who is Mexican, declared it good. His only suggestion was that it should be hotter. I'm thinking the longer the salsa sits in a jar, the spicier it will get.

Aaron came back in while I was cleaning up (he's been in and out about 4 times during the making of the salsa; he comes in to watch TV for a few minutes then goes back outside) and RRL asked him, "Isn't that cool that you picked the tomatoes that made this salsa?!"

Another eye roll, he takes a big drink of water, and asks, "Are there any more pop tarts."

Romper Room Lady is still here. I feel so proud of myself! I'm not sure we actually saved any money this way. Just running the dishwasher twice to clean all my dishes is probably the money cipher.

I can't wait to have some chips with my salsa. Jim ran to the store to get some. Oh yeah, that's the third trip to the store: one for our regular grocery shopping, one for the jalapenos and garlic we forget, and now the chips.

Too bad I don't drink or I'd have myself an ice-cold Corona with some lime or a margarita!

Happy Canning!

PS I have eight pints of salsa! It is incredibly good! Good thing I'm making tacos for dinner so we can eat the stuff that didn't get into the jars!

1 comment:

  1. What a good mom you are! I used to diligently make jam every summer for the boys' school lunches. It usually occurred on days that were hovering around 100° and involved me sterilizing jars and burning my hands while wiping rims clean. I felt so smug that my children were having preservative-free, homemade jam.

    I gave it up when we ran out once and the boys didn't even notice I'd substituted Smucker's. Oh well...

    Although at the doctor's office I tore out a recipe for Bread 'n Butter Pickles from the waiting room magazine. Gotta' find my jars!