How To Can Tomatoes

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I’m currently taking two University classes in the evening and working during the day so, needless to say, cooking, blogging, laundry, cleaning, shopping, or eating anything that doesn’t come from a Drive-Thru are not very high on my priority list at the moment.

And although I love to get fresh veggies from friends and family members, I just don’t have the time right now to do anything with them. However, a friend gave me a bunch of garden tomatoes the other day so I made a point of setting aside an hour to can them. It’s easy, fast, and then I can enjoy the sweet summery taste of fresh tomatoes all winter long while I’m cramming for exams.

Step 1
Wash any dirt off of the tomatoes and remove the stems.

How To Can Tomatoes / My Friend's Bakery

Step 2
Cut an X into the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife. Bring a pot of water to a low boil over high heat.  Drop 3 or 4 tomatoes at a time into the boiling water and blanch them for 45 seconds to 1 minute.

How To Can Tomatoes / My Friend's Bakery

Step 3
Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and immediately put them into an ice bath. The skins should begin to easily peel off.

How To Can Tomatoes / My Friend's Bakery

Step 4
Gently peel the skins off the tomatoes. Cut out the stem end and any bruised or damaged sections.  Cut the tomatoes into quarters if they are large.

How To Can Tomatoes / My Friend's Bakery

Step 5
Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the bottom of clean, sterilized canning jars. Fill the jars with tomatoes and push down to fit to 1/2″ from the rim.  Don’t worry if the tomatoes get squished a bit. Run a knife around the sides of each jar, all the way to the bottom, to remove any air pockets.

How To Can Tomatoes / My Friend's Bakery

Step 6
Wipe the jar rims and add the lids. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and cool on wire racks. Use these tomatoes with pasta, in sauces, soups, or anytime you would normally use store-bought canned tomatoes.

 

 How To Can Tomatoes / My Friend's Bakery

Now that you’re a pro at canning, try these canning recipes!

Pickled Beets / My Friend's BakeryNectarine And Vanilla Bean Jam / My Friend's BakeryConcord Grape Jelly / My Friend's Bakery

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How To Season A Cast Iron Pan

cast_iron_pan_2_mfbThe other day, my brother was at a garage sale. I don’t really like garage sales.  I’m not a collector of junk, and I’m especially not a collector of other people’s junk.  The stuff is  usually dirty and broken, and in reality, should have been tossed in the garbage never mind the 25 cents that they want for it.  I wouldn’t pay a wooden nickel for most things that I see at garage sales.

However, I love a good deal if it really is a good deal.  Not junk dressed up like a good deal.  So, when my brother sent me a picture and text from a garage sale showing a whole box of cookie cutters, I asked him to pick me out a few.  I couldn’t tell what was in the box, so I left it up to him to get me a couple of good ones.  He managed to get me some great vintage cookie cutters.

Then something caught my eye in the background of the picture.  Is that a cast iron frying pan?  At a garage sale?  So I immediately texted my brother to pick it up for me too.  Cookie cutters completely forgotten, I could hardly wait to get my hands on that frying pan!  I knew that no matter what condition it was in, I could fix it up and it would be a staple in my kitchen for many, many years to come.

cast_iron_pan_3_mfbMy brother couldn’t believe I actually wanted some dirty, old frying pan but he bought it for me anyway.  So when I picked up my frying pan from his house, I was thrilled with its condition. It needed a little work, but all in all, it was in very good shape.  All it needed was a little TLC.

How To Season A Cast Iron Pan

cast_iron_pan_4_mfb1. Give the frying pan a rinse under warm water and check for any rust or damage.  Use some mild soap and a scrub brush to give it a good cleaning.  This is the only time that you will ever use these items on your pan.  Once it’s seasoned, you will never use soap or a scrub brush again. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.

If there is any rust, fill the sink with a half and half solution of vinegar and water.  There must be enough liquid to completely cover the entire skillet.  Let the pan soak for 3 hours.  Remove the pan from the vinegar solution and use a scrub brush to remove any remaining rust.  Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.

cast_iron_pan_5_mfb2. Coat the skillet inside and out with lard, vegetable shortening, cooking oil, or coconut oil in a very thin layer.  Make sure it is completely coated, inside and outside (even the handle), and rub it in with a paper towel.

3.  Place the skillet in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.  Turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven to cool to room temperature.

4.  Repeat the oiling, baking, and cooling procedure 2 more times. (I did mine over a period of 3 days.)

cast_iron_pan_before_and_afterYour cast iron pan is now seasoned and ready to use.  You have created a beautiful, non stick surface for cooking and baking your food in a pan that will last for years and years.  Repeat the seasoning process every once in a while to maintain the surface of the pan.

cast_iron_pan_7_mfbCast iron pans are easiest to clean right after cooking, before the food has a chance to become one with the skillet. As soon as it is cool enough to touch, wipe out the food remnants with a paper towel and rinse it with hot water (no soap).  Dry thoroughly. Store your skillet in a dry place, away from any water or moisture, and with a paper towel to line the surface for protection.

I still have not changed my mind about garage sales, but hey, a deal is a deal.  And for a mere $10, I really did get a great deal.