Country Living Series

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Picking potatoes and canning tomatoes

A friend with an overflowing garden invited me over to get a box of tomatoes for canning. I love going to her house because this woman has the greenest thumb of anyone I've ever met.

She has a picturesque shed with Virginia creeper growing over it.

While chatting, this friend asked if I wanted some potatoes, as she had far too many for herself. So we went to her potato bed and dug up a box of potatoes.

She had both red potatoes...

...and Yukon gold.

Many of them were huge!

I went home with a big box of potatoes, a pumpkin, and two boxes of tomatoes (one box of ripe tomatoes, and a box of green tomatoes).

Then a week went by before I had a chance to can the tomatoes. By this point some of the ripe ones were going bad...

...and many of the green tomatoes had ripened into red. Time to get these babies canned!

I started by washing some quart jars.

Then I boiled a pot of water and dropped in some tomatoes, to loosen the skins.

After being in the hot water for a few minutes, cool them in cold water.

Then the tomatoes are easy to peel. Here's a bowl of peeled tomatoes. Because they were over-ripe at this stage, they were verrrrrry juicy.

In fact, I like to drain them in a colander to remove some of the juice.

Then into the blender...

...for a quick chopping up.

All too-ripe tomatoes as well as the peels went into the compost pile.

I got five quarts of puréed tomatoes out of this batch.

Into the water-bath for twenty minutes.

Letting the jars cool before taking off the rings...

After the jars cool, the tomato parts separate from the amber liquid. Without draining the peeled tomatoes before canning them, there would be a lot more liquid!


  1. Awesome picture at the top of your blog!

  2. Okay, Patrice, I have a bone to pick with you! You tossed all those tomato peels on the compost heap?!?
    PLEASE read the blog I posted in 2009 on using tomato peels and other kitchen scraps to add to your food storage!

    Next time you get a chance, check the price of Tomato Powder at a gourmet type food store...and then realize how much powder you could have made out of those peels!
    Yes, I know you love your compost heap...but I am so into frugality it PAINS me when I see folks tossing out resources that could have ended up on their table!

  3. We were also blessed to dig up potatoes from our homesteading neighbors. thanks also for the step-by-step tomato canning.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

  4. I remember when i was little my dad got carried away and planted to many potatoes. We filled up every bucket we had then all my aunts buckets then grandpas and finally a trailer behind our tractor. When we were finnaly done dad decides to run the plow through again and we ended up filling up dads truck bed. We took potatoes to everyone we knew and to several local food pantries. The food pantry folks were a little surprised when we pulled up with a truck load of spuds. Needless to say dads potato planting privaleges were revolked.

  5. What? No seed saving???
    Tomatoes can be quartered or top cap cut, and the seeds scooped out with a spoon, then proceed with your tomato canning process. In fact the ones you threw on the compost pile could still be retrieved for de-seeding, drying, storing, and future planting.

    Also, to help keep the liquid from separating in the jars, add a slight pinch of citric acid (sour salt) into the blender. works like a charm.


  6. My potato crop stunk this year. Potato bugs devoured my plants. My crop really suffered for it. I don't know what I did wrong.

    It's so embarrassing to have to go to the grocery to BUY potatoes. I got a few out of the ground - but not even enough to make it to Thanksgiving.

    I wish I had a potato friend....

    Just Me

  7. What do you used the pureed tomaotoes for? I cleaned out my garden last weekend, and all of my remaining tomatoes went through the squeezo and into the freezer until I could figure out what to do with them. But now I am out of freezer space!

  8. Kelly, you can use pureed tomatoes for anything requiring a tomato base, such as chile, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, etc. Happy cooking!

    - Patrice

  9. I misread your title as pickled potatoes. I was very curious to see what you would write.

  10. The chickens love the overripe tomatoes and the peels too!
    I got about 10# of jalapenos at church today and a box of green tomatoes to go with mine. People bring in their extras and put them in the foyer for all to take.
    I sure could use some potatoes though as the ground squirrels (marmots?) took a toll on all my potatoes this year. First time for that. I found potatoes in trails elbow deep (I planted 4" down and covered with straw), as big around as my arm (I am not obese, but not small bones either)and in the hole was a mixture of reds and golds! They were planted 3-4' apart! Last year was too much rain after planting. I pray that next year God will see fit to allow us a good crop. By the way, most of my potatoes were in raised beds with wire beneath.

  11. I have never canned tomatoes so I appreciate the step by step and pictures of the canning process too. We give all our fresh veggie scraps to our chickens (sorry Lamb!) and they love it. They love the juicier stuff like tomatoes ...they turn their beaks up at celery and potatoes though so that all goes on the compost pile. I think composting, supplementing feed to the chickens and dehydrating to make powders are all good methods. Now I had better go read Lamb's link!

  12. In a grid down situation, what would you use to blend the tomatoes instead of the electric blender? Can they be whisked by hand?

  13. Survival Skves, tomatoes are too full of fibers to whisk, so in a grid-down situation I would just stew them and can them stewed. Truthfully, most people probably can them that way anyway.

    - Patrice

  14. In a grid-down setting, I would drag out the inverter to run that blender. Do you have one? I have acquired several, from little ones to run computers and cell phone chargers to a big honker that will run my electric chain saw. I can fill a van with scrap cut-length-lumbar on one deep-cycle battery.