I’m talking about preserving food, in this case, tomatoes, for use in the fall and winter. We picked up a lug box of canning tomatoes at a roadside fruit stand. The tomatoes on display were $1.99 a pound and they were beautifully perfect! However, I was looking for the not-so-perfect fruit. A few bumps, bruises and splits don’t matter when you are peeling and chopping them anyway. I got a lug box (about 25 lbs.) for $5.00.
I began learning about canning fruits from my grandmother. She died before the first personal computer was invented, so I KNOW she didn’t use our modern technologies to preserve foods. Instead she relied on the knowledge passed down from her mother and grandmother, friends and other relatives and books like the Ball Blue Book.
The book in the photo is my trusty copy of the Ball Blue Book. It is over 30 years old and I use it each time I can something. However, it is not always easily available. It tends to get lost in my cookbook bookcase.
That is just what happened on Friday. I needed the recipe and information on canning tomatoes.
When I could not find the book, it was time to use a little technology! My iPad can often be found on my island or kitchen counter, so my first thought was the Apple App Store. I typed in “canning” and this is what appeared:
Right there was a free app, How to Can. Since playing on my iPad wasn’t getting those beautiful tomatoes into jars, I “bought" it.
The app contains good basic information about the canning process and is full of good advice from a well-respected information source. The app has a link to how to subscribe to Mother Earth News on each screen. This app is also an advertisement, so the free price is justifiable for lots of good information.
It is easy to visually find your way to the information you are looking for using the illustrated index on the left side:
Most important, it has the information on how long to process (boil) the canned tomatoes:
In a few short hours, I had 19 pints of diced tomatoes cooling on my counter, ready to be labeled and stored for use this fall in chili, soups and stews. They look so beautiful!