Sunday, September 30, 2012

Planet tomato

As I told my friend Jane yesterday, I so should not have gone to the Clinton-Bailey Market. I came away with 100 pounds of tomatoes! Well, just about. I got a deal on them. I spent $11 on a half bushel which is pretty good in this day and age.

However they are use 'em or lose'em tomatoes. So now I have to use them.

I am making ketchup!

That is not as unglamorous as it sounds. I made this ketchup a few years ago out of "The Joy of Cooking" and it is delicious. I burned through all my jars of it. It is different from store-bought ketchup. It is spicy rather than sweet. My mom wants some of it because it would be better for her. Plus she likes that sweet/sour taste you get with the homemade stuff.

Right now the ketchup is bubbling happily in the pot on the stove so in a minute I am going to go work on the book. I have cleared several hours for Leonard Pennario so that is my day.

Meanwhile I find myself laughing at everything I had to go through to get this project going. It did not take long. There was just a lot of drama crammed into the time it did take.

First I had to find the recipe. My copy of "The Joy of Cooking" is all beat up and missing its index and also missing the chapter early in the book where it tells of preserving. That book has the only ketchup recipe I want to use. Surprisingly, this is the new "Joy," not the old one. The new one has a good chapter on canning and preserving including a great chili sauce and an excellent tomato chutney. Unfortunately though I had the book new in hardcover, it was cheaply bound and completely fell apart. It could not withstand the rigors of my kitchen. So I have lost most of that chapter, alas.


I did find the ketchup recipe! I thought I had the page stuck between the other pages and sure enough, I did! It took me a while to find it but still. Yay for me!

So that was one thing. Next I had to find my canning equipment.

I was looking for this big canning pot I knew I had. It was an upgrade from the one I used to use. But zut alors, I found the pot but not the thingie that goes inside and holds the jars. What in the world?

Where was that jar holder thingie?

While I was looking, I came upon the greatest little canning pot. It is a mini-canner! Just the size of a normal stock pot, with the greatest little jar holder rack inside. This canner was brand-new, too. It still had the price sticker on it from -- I love this -- Vidler's five and ten, in East Aurora.

"Oh-kaaaay," I said out loud, looking at this.

Who knew I had this canner? I could not remember having seen it before in my life.

A piece of paper inside told the story. It came from the Tonawanda Goodwill. It had cost me $2. What a steal! Way to go, me!

Now for the jars. Ah! I found a brand new box of wide-mouth Ball pints. Well, brand new in a way of speaking. The box of jars was from about 1960, looks like, but the box and the jars are both in practically mint condition. I forget whose basement I bought this box out of.

Next, the lids. This could be a challenge. But St. Lawrence, the patron saint of cooks, was smiling down on me: I found a box of brand-new wide-mouth lids, all ready to go. I am more organized than I give myself credit for, you know. Except for the canner -- well, and the recipe -- everything was in the right area.

So now I am cooking. I am cooking with gas!

Wow, news flash! Looking around on the Internet for the "Joy of Cooking" recipe, in hopes I could link to it, I could not find it -- but somebody did say it is in the old edition too, spelled Catsup. I checked and it is! This is the 1970s-era edition we are talking about now, not the 1940s edition. It was not in the 1940s edition. I checked.

OK, now I have to run and apply my research skills to a certain concert pianist.

I cannot let these tomatoes eat my life!

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