17 Apr

Tomato Time!

Tomato growing season is drawing to a close here at DemetersRest and I thought it was time to bottle up the many kilo’s of tom’s that are accumulating here.  Each day Jacob comes in with another armful to add to the mix… use it or lose it as they say!

It goes without question that one of the recipes I had to make was Mum’s famous tomato relish.  I still remember as a small child the smell of relish filling the house as we flitted in and out of the kitchen during the summer days of playing in the pool with our friends.

The relish only needed 2.5kg (5lbs for my American friends) so the remaining kilos were bottled as simply as possible to offer the most versatility over winter.

Having spent three years in our shed whilst we built our home, it’s a real joy to have a beautiful kitchen in which to cook.  Space to spread everything out… just heaven!

So for the tomatoes I removed the core and then blanched them for a couple of minutes to remove the skins – this still feels like some kind of magic!  After all the skins were removed I cut them into rough chunks, 2-3cm in size them jammed as much as possible into a my jars.

I’ve chosen Weck jars, just because they’re pretty to look at and have some great shapes, different to everything else I’ve seen around. I bought mine at Wheel and Barrow, however whilst writing this article I see that there is an Australian website for Weck here.  Their prices seem a little better than Wheel & Barrow… but it would be a travesty to not have an excuse to go in to a Wheel & Barrow store in my humble opinion 😀

Thanks to my mother-in-law, Dorothy (we’re not allowed to call her Dot or Dotty /giggle), I have an amazing piece of Australian preserving history – an original Fowler’s Vacola.  I’m convinced this one must be from at least 1970, especially if the picture of the family on the label is anything to go by!

I’ve read several articles on whether to sterilise or to not if you’re then going to put your jars through a Vacola similar preserving process. It seemed the majority opinion was that it was not necessary.  I decided to err on the side of caution and do it anyway.  It was quick and simple enough to do while I was preparing the rest of the contents.  I simply washed the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinsed in hot water then popped them in the oven @ 150℃ (300℉) for 30 minutes.

For the tomatoes I had 6 x 530ml Weck Juice Jars and I was surprised by how much they fit.  In terms of fulfilling the demand through winter for our canned tomatoes this won’t even come close, but those times we are able to use our own produce will be all the more special.  I used the handle of a wooden spoon to cram as much tomato into each jar as possible, but what would have been ideal is a muddler… if only I drank cocktails!  None the less I think I will get one for next year, the spoon handle was just a little too thin to be fully effective.

Anyway, enough of my chitter-chatter, here’s the end result :

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