My New Toy

In my next life, I’m going to come back as a farm wife. I don’t know how I’d be at the wife part, but I’d be all over the food prep and processing.

Yesterday we went to the farmer’s market which starts at 3pm. Normally I don’t get done working til at least 3 or 4, and then we go to the library or gym or somewhere, and we don’t get to the market until 5 or so. It ends at 6.

But yesterday we went early. Last week I asked about the apple seconds that I had gotten the week before, and she told me that someone already bought them. I told her that I was very interested in apples, because I am making sauce, and I would buy a lot if she had them next week. So I got there early, I wasn’t going to miss the apples. We saw that she had apples and breathed sighs of relief, but when she saw me, she came over (despite a line of people) and gave me a whole bushel of apples for just $8 that she had picked and saved just for me!

I was thrilled, and I still bought the other 10 pounds she had. (She even had a cantalope!) The moral of the story is to get to know your farmers and they’ll take care of me. I come every week (with my adorable son), so everyone knows me. Last year I was talking to the organic farmers and wishing that they had kale, and this year they grew kale. Tell the farmers what you want, and you just might get it.

I went home and started chopping up apples. I filled up my big stock pot with apples and got them cooking. Then I loaded up my food processor and made 2 quarts of juice. By that time the apples were ready for processing, so I got to use my new toy!

The Victorio Strainer

The Victorio Strainer is awesome. It doesn’t cost much more than a traditional food mill, but it works so nicely and smoothly. You turn the crank, and the skins and seeds go out the end, and the sauce squeezes out of the strained part. Caleb guided the apples into the hole, while I turned the crank (it was a little too hard for him, but it turned easily for me). He thought it was great.

After the apples were washed out, I started cutting up some Amish paste tomatoes. I got them from a farm in Ohio. We went there last weekend for a corn maze, which was a huge hit with my son. It will definitely be a fall traditon. Anyway, we ground up the tomatoes with our Victorio strainer and then set them to cook down on the stove.

Then I started our mashed potatoes and green beans and cranberry muffins. After that was going, I filled up another stock pot full of apples. I also filled the crockpot full of apples and some of the juice that I had just made. That would cook all night on high to make apple butter.

I’ve never made tomato sauce before, but it took FOREVER to boil down. Next time, I’ll be starting tomato prep in the morning. Finally at 10 pm I decided it was thick enough, so I dumped it in a jar and stuck it in the fridge. I didn’t even taste it. I’ll make whatever adjustments need to be made on Saturday when I make lasagna with it.

Finally we went to bed and read about Paddington Bear.
So tell me, how long is it supposed to take to cook tomatoes down, because I had a feeling I was doing something wrong. Anybody else make their own sauce? Do you have a good recipe?

What deals have you scored at the farmer’s market?

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6 thoughts on “My New Toy

  1. It takes a freaking long time to cook tomatoes down. To speed the process a little, I usually scoop as much out as I can of the goopy, seedy part (most of which evaporates anyway).

    Yes, I know, I still owe you an e-mail.

  2. I am new to making my own stuff as well, last year was my first year. This year I didn’t do as much, but I would like to do more next year. 🙂 I would love to do tomatoes next year, but the past two years I have mostly done apples. There is an apple orchid near us that allows you to pick apples and we spent the better part of two days making apple sauce and sliced apples. I find this site to be an excellent starting point for me: http://www.pickyourown.org/ Good luck! I hope to do tomatoes next year.

  3. I core and freeze tomatoes whole in plastic bags. When I need to make sauce for spaghetti or lasagna etc., I take out a bag of frozen tomatoes, rinse them under warm water until the skins slip off and then chop them up and throw them in a pan. I usually add some shredded zucchini, chopped onion, garlic and basil and let it simmer for a bit. I use what I need and then freeze the left overs for another meal. The sauce is chunky (which we like) and can be a tad watery, but it is so, so yummy. I sometimes add a jar of prepared sauce to it to stretch it further and make it less watery. I’ve never had the desire to can anything and this system of freezing the tomatoes whole works well for me….and it’s a lot less work.

  4. The feeling you get when you look in a cupboard and see rows of your own preserved produce. we used to live on site where husband worked, which once upon a time had been a farm community, the place was covered in apple trees of every type, the girls used to pick and eat from the tree by our back gate, I made lots of crab apple jelly too…

  5. I actually just did tomatoes today. It does take forever to cook them down, but it’s so worth it. If you have time, you can cut the tomatoes the night before and just let them sit (covered) overnight and some of the more watery juices will come out, strain that off before you cook and it helps!

  6. oh i am getting so hungry and inspired reading your blog!!! 😉 i would love LOVE to be able to make our own foods. like i have said before i am learning and researching how and when to start. (i am a bit of a planner 😉 )

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