Google Website Translator Gadget

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Canned Tomatoes And Another Story

Ah, who doesn't love the taste of fresh red tomatoes on the vine and garden canned fresh tomatoes in the winter...This takes me back to my childhood once again and brings with it yet another tale.
Tomatoes on the Vine
Image via Pinterest ~ Originally pinned by Dina Belous
Growing up in the country had it's pluses and minuses.  When you are a kid there is nothing like the dog days of summer when you can go barefoot and feel the grass in between your toes, fish from a homemade cane pole down by the creek, catch lightening bugs in the evening and make clover bracelets while looking for a four leaf clover.  Activities like these filled my days as a child and bring back warm memories of being a kid.

We had a very large garden when I was a child and with 8 other brothers and sisters it was a necessity.  My dad and grandfather planted several l~O~N~G rows each of corn, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and other various vegetables.  Gardens were a main stay back then and canning the "fruits of the labor" was my mom and grandmother's job, and a job it was.  Dad was at work all day so my grandfather, who was retired, would come out everyday and work in the garden.  He would spent hours weeding and tending to the plants making sure everything was watered and fertilized.  He was the one who "patrolled" our garden and when I say "patrolled" I mean he never missed a day of working it.  I used to worry about him in the heat bending over all those rows of vegetables and would bring him glasses of ice cold water.  Of course my brother was supposed to help him if you could find him!  HA

When the vegetables started coming in and bushel basketfuls of green beans and tomatoes were ripe and ready for picking guess who had the laborious job of snapping the beans?  My older brother, who somehow always managed to turn up missing when it came time to snap beans and me.  Why, I even found him hiding once in the ditch near the road covered in recently mowed grass and as usual he was laughing...always laughing because he got away with it!  I would sit for hours outside in the evening and snap beans...and more beans...and more beans until I could see the start of blisters.  It was all in the name of having those delicious  green beans canned so that when winter came, we would enjoy eating them.  When you are a child though that didn't seem as important as playing. If I thought my job was hard, it was nothing to what my mom and grandmother went through everyday until there wasn't a tomato, green beans or corn left on the stalk and this is where my heart swells up when I remember back to those days.

I remember like it was just yesterday...being in the kitchen during the hottest summer months with no air conditioning watching them both first scalding the tomatoes and then peeling them. My grandmother would spend many hours cutting out the yellow spidery veins that ran through the tomatoes.  I don't remember why she spent so much time doing this but it had something to do with the tomatoes not tasting as good if you didn't.  I was too young to handle a paring knife so I sat back and watched.   Back then, you had all these jars, lids, and caps that had to be washed and scalded even before you could start the canning process.  Then the jars filled with tomatoes would be placed into a rack inside a huge canner filled with water that was brought to boiling and a timer set for the length of time it took to do its job.

Image via Pinterest ~ Originally pinned by Traci Forbes

This process took what seemed like weeks but I really think it pretty much took place through the later part of July and into the month of August.  I remember the both of them sweating and working so tirelessly and all of this to give us fresh canned tomatoes in the winter. Their hands would look like prunes all shriveled up and I could smell the lingering scent of tomatoes on them.  Through their effort we were able to have garden canned green beans, tomatoes and corn that pretty much lasted us throughout the winter.  I never stopped to think about how much work it was and how hard they worked at the time but when I think about it now it was surely the labor of the love they had for us measured by all the time it took them to do this year in and year out for as long as I can remember.  As long as my grandfather had a garden, well into his late 80's, my grandmother would can tomatoes and I remember her saying she was getting to old to can all of the tomatoes that came in every year but she always did. I think partially because it gave my grandfather something to occupy his time and because she knew, at some point, my grandfather wouldn't be able to plant his garden and that there wouldn't be any more canned tomatoes...


  1. You are bringing great memories back, Kris. My Grandmother used to can tomatoes and they were the best...Just remembering the soup0s and homemade macaroni with tomatoes that she made from those jars brings me back.XO, Mona

  2. Thanks for sharing these stories - I really enjoy reading them! :-)

  3. Dear Kris, you have had really a beautiful childhood with a lot of beautiful memories. I imagine, how wonderful those place where you with your parents and your grandparents have lived. Surrounded by nature and beautiful places. I think, it was really a beautiful country living. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories.
    Take care, dearest Kris!

  4. ciao Kris, thanks for your visit+comment (I did answer your question on my blog too)! I adore not only the taste but also te smell of tomato plants...yumyum!gorgeous+so heart warming stories...

  5. I have never liked Tomatoes, all my family does and my Nana used to bring them over to our house all the time, but I just couldn't find a liking for them. I do like them stewed, but not fresh at all. I would help my Aunt pick them in her garden. Beautiful memories :)) xx

  6. Kris, It is so nice you have these wonderful memories .. I enjoyed reading. Thank you for your e mail ... I am so sorry for the tragedy your family has endured. My heart goes out to them and you also ... it is so hard to see the ones you love in pain. I made mention of your blog in my post today ...I hope that is ok...please let me know if it is not. Thank you for your kindness:)
    Take care, Francine

  7. I lovee tomatoes :D haha fresh tomatoes taste delicious I must say. have a great weekend!

  8. You bring back memories. In the last year of the war I did live with family who had their own vegatablegarden. Lots of the stock had to go to the Germans but they were able to hide some for use in the family. We had lots of runner beans and sometimes they were salted. Tomatoes were always there as well and potatoes. I was never hungry unlike so many people and I have always been thankful for that.

  9. I have never canned tomatoes but I slow roast them, freeze them and eat their sweetness all winter long . . .

  10. oh, kris.....i love this post. you painted a beautiful picture. i can see my grandmother red-faced as she canned too.
    this is such a beautiful memory.....

  11. What a lovely childhood story, Kris. How special it was that your grandmother canned tomatoes. My dad used to have a garden across the street from his house, and he would come home with the most wonderful tomatoes and vegetables. I used to go over there sometimes and help him with his garden, and we would have long talks. There is nothing quite like home grown tomatoes, is there? Enjoy the weekend.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Panama City, Florida