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Jul 30, 2006 06:40 PM

Does anybody can tomatoes.. or anything else?

I grew up with a mom who canned produce from her garden..her mom did the same. I did the same.

I live in N.CA now..and was invited over to my neighbors garden to pick as many tomatoes and lemon cukes as I wanted. I told her I would can some and bring them back. She said she'd never done that..nor had her mom. My mother-in-law said the same.

Is is just a thing that people do who happen to live in areas with shorter growing seasons?

I'll never forget the time my mom and dad drove to CA (from Wyo) to visit my step-sis. I was still living in Wyo. My mom called me all excited..."we were driving down the freeway and there was this huge open truck filled so high with tomatoes that they were falling onto the highway. I made Jack stop so I could pick them up along the side of the road. I couldn't believe it that nobody else was stopping. All those tomatoes going to waste!"
She had enough to can 40 jars by the time she got to S. CA...even tho she had to buy all of the canning equipment when she got there. She left some with my sis and brought the rest home. I have never seen her so happy or so smug.

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  1. No I don't think it's a function of growing season, it's more to do with whether you like to cook or not. I grew up with homemade Chinese pickles my grandmother made, so I didn't find it unusual to can tomatoes. I starting canning and making preserves when I lived in South Africa which has a year-round growing season.

    Love the story about tomatoes falling off the truck. I would have done the same, as would my mother.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheryl_h

      I don't like to shop for veg every day so I do a lot of refrigerator pickling rather than the more sophisticted canning. It allows me to utilize a lot of veg that might otherwise not be fresh after a couple of days and makes delicious additions to salads - especially like mushrooms and string beans. Just simmer veg in strong vinegar/water solution with salt and pinch of red pep. flakes and refrigerate for 2 days before eating - kepp for a couple of weeks refrigerated.

    2. I have in the past but no longer do but am giving some serious thought to putting up tomato jam this summer. There is noting like it on a hot biscuit or as a savoury beside a roast or fried chicken.

      In recent years I had been working a lot and just did not have the time. I had to place a limit on how many tomato plants we put in because of the waste that occured. I now have a little more leisure and am thinking of canning again and making dilly beans too. They are the best pickle!

      1. I live in Scandinavia and here pickling and preserving is thought to be innate methods of cooking. It was an ideal way to keep especially veggies available during off seasons and prevent people from dying of scurvy.
        I do it myself all the time. I preserve just about everything that grows (and that I like eating). Last year I made green tomato preserves. I was told by the receiver that they enjoyed them immensely (I'm a tomato allergic myself). I cook jams and make preserves and pickle any veggie I can get my hands on. Dressed with nice labels etc., they also make great gifts.

        1. I grew up with canning being an important part of summer.
          We grew peaches and apricots which my mother canned.
          The canned peaches and apricots lived in a cupboard in the basement, and ~I SWEAR~ when you opened that cupboard, the golden summer sun streamed out.
          My mother also made jelly from our quinces and it's a taste I truly miss. She also made jelly from our blackberries and my aunt's raspberries. The big bag of berries dripping juice into a bowl is one of my fondest kitchen memories....

          1. yes, I still can also, although I freeze quite a bit too. The tomatoes in my area are just not happening this year, but I am (as I type) processing a full bushel of absolutely incredible "summer pearl" white peaches I picked with my family this weekend (aunts, uncles, nephews, what fun). I will freeze most of them, or at least what my visiting nephews don't eat anyway. Bad bad year for tomatoes, though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Betty

              I've been surprised at my own impulses to can lately. I've made concord grape jam a couple of times (once from our garden and once from the store when the wildlife beat us to the grapes) and last year I put up some peach jam. But I need a much better recipe for the next peach jam I make. We have a relatively short growing season here, so there is some of that impulse to make it last longer. I love opening a jar of grape jam in January.