When you have 70 pounds or so of ripe tomatoes in the house, you don't plant garden. You don't make cheese. You get out the pressure canner and the water bath canner and big pots of hot water and big bowls of cold water and get to work.
I did get the milk skimmed after breakfast, before canning. Over 5 quarts of cream later, I began to pressure can 14 quarts of milk. This kills the bacteria and makes the jars of milk shelf stable. At some point we will have to go a couple of months or more without milk as we wait for babies to arrive. These nice jars of milk will be great for cooking, putting in coffee and drinking if we just absolutely have to have a glass of milk. While the canner bubbled and hissed and jiggled I began the process of processing tomatoes. The tomatoes have to be dipped in a bath of boiling water then into the cold water to make the skins peel off effortlessly. I skin them and core them by hand then decide what to cook.
We absolutely adore La Madeleine's recipe for Tomato Basil Soup. La Mad's is a cute little French bistro chain in Texas we used to frequent. In our early married years we would go and order a cup of french roast and eat the free bread and jam they put out. Great cheap date. The real splurge was a bowl of soup. Here is the recipe:
4 cups pureed tomatoes
1/2 c. butter
1 c. heavy cream or half n half, depending on how generous your cow is
2 c tomato juice (or if you are using fresh juicy tomatoes, just make that 6 c. pureed tomatoes
2 c. chicken broth
1 TBSP fresh chopped basil, or more if you really love basil
Bring the tomatoes, juice and broth to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the basil and cream and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with some of our freshly ground whole wheat baguette or milk and honey bread with a nice piece of cheese. Or quadruple the recipe and freeze for winter time and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Another recipe we use to make many many jars of salsa is the fake Pace Picante recipe:
56 oz pureed fresh tomatoes
2 jalapenos minced
1/4 c. vinegar
1 tsp salt or more if you are a salt fiend like our family
a few minced garlic cloves
Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Put into jars and refrigerate when cool or water bath to make shelf stable.
I also made many jars of pepper jelly, marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes. The final jars of boiling as I type. A few weeks ago I looked at the basement shelves with horror. We were empty! Last year our garden was much earlier. Never fear. Harvest time is here. The shelves are filling up with preserves, canned fruits, all sorts of goodies.
While I chopped, peeled, stirred and ladled, the children worked on schoolwork, practiced latin, wrote a paper on sea wasps and colored pictures, moved turkeys and ducks out to a new home and Philip and Thomas went to get a huge load of firewood. We didn't eat very much. Will do that later. Didn't get much laundry done. Tomorrow? But there are many more tomatoes ripe in the garden... I'm thinking bbq sauce, ketchup, more marinara....
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Prov. 19:21