Messy

Of course, you can't keep them like this

Of course, you can’t keep them like this

I like bottling, but it sure is a messy occupation. Today I have been busy with all those tomatoes that we bought at the weekend. Over the past two days they have been roasted and passed through my tomato mill, so that by this morning I had two big posts of puree just waiting to be bottled. It was at this point that I realised that my smallest preserving jars are half a litre (0.87 of an imperial pint or 1 US pint) which is fine, but there are times when that’s going to be too much for me (especially being on my own over the winter). So, I took a trip to the fabulous hardware store in Lampeter, D.L. Williams.  They do seem to sell pretty much everything for the home, including preserving jars. I bought all the ones that they had which were less than a litre – six 200 ml and two 125 ml. I would have liked more, but at least I now had a range of sizes to use.

I just can't manage not to spill!

I just can’t manage not to spill!

This afternoon has involved lots of bubbling tomato, water baths, preserving jars, and mess! I’ve got a big pile of washing up and still a few jars simmering away in water, but mostly I’m done. Tomorrow morning, when all the jars are cool, I will be able to test them to see if they have sealed properly. It’s looking promising since the metal tops have gone ‘pop’ on the big jars (a good sign that the seals have formed as they cool).

So, that’s another way to avoid wasteful packaging – hopefully combined with the frozen passata, all this work will mean we don’t need to buy any tinned tomatoes over the winter and all the tomatoes we eat will have been produced locally.

Jars cooling

Jars cooling

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15 Comments

  1. When Ceri, (other half was at my aunts in Wolverhampton on Sunday, my aunt was bottling plums in Kilner jars that had belonged to my grandmother.

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  2. Okay, this is totally not the point, but I love that you say “tinned” tomatoes. 🙂 We say “canned” here, and that doesn’t sound nearly as nifty, I don’t think. Also, those tomatoes are beautiful!

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  3. Hard labour but a job well done. You haven’t told him about the little Italian Restaurant you’re running on weekdays while he’s away have you?
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Reply
  4. I’m down to my last bottle of tomato sauce… The jars are different here: I have a couple of dozen of Fowlers Vacola No. 20, which are increasingly hard to get seals for, and a dozen half pint Ball jars from the States, which are much easier to get lids for but aren’t as sturdy. You don’t get Kilner jars here at all, which is a pity. I remember my mother bottling endless quantities of veg and fruit each summer using them. Good job it’s not tomato season here yet, as I have to pack my pressure canner…

    Reply
    • The small ones above are made by Kitchen Craft – they seem to be quite good, but I guess only time will tell. I do have a soft spot for Kilner jars – some of mine are quite old, having been bought from a charity shop about 25 years ago… never had the luck to find any more secondhand since.

      Reply
  5. something deliciously calm about home made tomato anything. Cooked and preserved toms are such a “people” food. XXX

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    • And this is really so much nicer than tinned tomatoes… makes a delicious and very quick pasta sauce with just fried onion, peppers, courgettes and some herbs.

      Reply
  6. Preserving tomatoes makes me twitch. I recon I am going to dry mine again like I did a few years ago. I kept them in jars and just rehydrated them to make an amazing intense tomato puree when whizzed up in the blender…my kind of preserving 😉 Kudos on your excellent job. I salute you! 🙂

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  7. I miss having a garden so much, including the autumn preserving madness. Although I’ll be back in Australia next year, I doubt I’ll have much of a garden for a while yet (having to move to the big city for study: blech). Still, at least in Melbourne I’ll be able to buy bulk local produce in season and do a little preserving that way. Meanwhile, I’m envious of your tomato goodness!

    Reply

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