Home grown

What to do with a half bushel of ripe tomatoes

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It seems like it took forever, but I was finally able to collect enough tomatoes to can my first batch of tomato juice this Sunday in Dell Rapids with the help of my mom, Janice Eining.

When my tomatoes first started coming in, I asked my mom right away how many I needed to can tomato juice. She said about half a bushel, which was about as useful as me trying to explain Snapchat to her, so I ended up calling her at least a couple times a week to tell her how many gallon pails I had to see if I had enough yet.

I’ve been picking tomatoes almost every day, for what seems like months, trying to get enough tomatoes together. I picked them as soon as they were orange before the bugs got to them and laid them in a box to finish ripening. Then they’d go into the garage fridge when they were fully ripe.

I finally had enough tomatoes this weekend, so Sunday I loaded them all up and a couple boxes of jars and drove to my parents’ house, where my mom was waiting with everything ready to go. When I got to their house, Mom said it looked like I had about a half a bushel, so for anyone else who wouldn’t know how much that is, it’s about four to five gallon-buckets full.

Canning tomato juice with my mom was so much faster and easier than doing it by myself. We were both able to core and cut up the tomatoes at the same time and had them in the pots in no time. Then once they were boiled down, I got to do the smashing and straining while she kept pouring in more and scraping the strainer down. Before long we pouring them in jars and doing dishes.

It ended up taking us about 4 hours to can all my tomatoes that were ready, and we got 5 ½ quarts out of all of those tomatoes. It’s surprising how many tomatoes it takes to get a quart of juice, but it’s so worth it to have on hand. I’m hoping I can get another batch together yet and hopefully some salsa canned too.

For those of you who have some cherry or grape tomatoes ready to go, this is a great recipe for fresh tomato salsa. It comes together in no time, tastes delicious, and if you have any left over, you can freeze it for another time. Enjoy!

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