Should you have popped round for quick visit yesterday at five o'clock in the morning, this is what you would have found me doing......
...... holding a fork with a tomato impaled upon it,
which was being singed in the flame so the skin could be easily removed.
It took a few seconds, that's all, and is much faster than the other method I have tried,
which is to bring a pan of water to boil, plunge some tomatoes in it,
rescue them after a moment or so, then plunge them into cold water to cool down,
after which the skins can be removed.
I don't get on with this method of skinning tomatoes,
finding it difficult to get the timing right for each tomato,
so that I tend to end up with a portion of over cooked mushy tomatoes,
which is a waste.
It was this pile of tomatoes which I was needing to sort out,
..... lots of elongated Amish Paste tomatoes, lots of little round ones, and a few bigger round ones.
It was the Amish Paste which I was going to skin.
Not looking forward to this season's tomato harvest because of the skinning process,
I had been putting off starting the job,
but the onset of ripeness pushed me into a search on the internet for alternative methods of getting the skins off the tomatoes, and I found this gas flame one.
Thought I would have a try.
Put a fork in to the top end of the tomato,
hold the tomato in the flame with the bottom end presented to the flame,
Hold for a second or so, then turn the tomato on its side and start slowly rotating it.
There will be a pop as the skin breaks, and there might be a sizzling sound, which let you know that the job is nearly done. It does not take long.
Then put those tomatoes on a plate to cool down,
then on to the next.
Working on two tomatoes at a time, (separate forks of course!), I whizzed through the tomatoes quickly, had no waste because the time in the flame for each tomato could be varied with its size,
and I did not get soaked, which was something I tended to do when using the boiling water method.
Then on to skinning, coring, chopping, cooking, and preserving.
Twenty minutes at 10lb pressure in my All American Canner,
and job done, giving us seven more jars for the larder,
making seventeen jars of chopped tomatoes in total.
(9 tomato, celery, and onion, 8 tomato, courgette, and onion
in 0.7 litre jars)
This is my first year of canning tomatoes.
Did wonder if it was worth the effort when tins of tomatoes don't cost much to buy from the shops,
but the first taste of our own processed tomatoes forever changed my mind.
So, is it worth the work?
So what to you do when you feel like coming to a full stop mid way through a food prepping session,
when the road feels long, and you would like to be anywhere else except here.
When a bar of chocolate feels vital to have, when a cup of cocoa will not substitute.
So what you do is down tools, and go lie down on the bed for a quick nap,
after which the energies will surge up again, hopefully, and the pace of food prepping will begin again. If it doesn't, then there is always tomorrow.
I blame the hot weather, which makes me slothful.
But it is cooler today, which got me off to a good start. Mid morning I felt the urge to sit down for a minute though. Two hours later I woke up. Lunch was late. Another quick nap afterwards, and oh dear, another nap late afternoon. Must be the hot weather catching up with me. As I say, the temperatures have been silly.....mid 30's....
Lester, though, manages the heat quite well, possibly because he was born and raised in South Africa,
so he has been plodding on with the gathering, sawing, chopping and stacking of the wood .......
.... and a pause to give the cows a morsel of greenery,
..... and our homestead, with the field waiting for the rains to green it up again...
And back at the house, the wood pile is growing....
...... and this pile still waits to be chopped and stacked...
Like me and the tomatoes, this is his first year of getting the wood pile done.
I think I have the easier task.
Standing over a hot stove making jam, canning tomatoes and other veg, and doing all the other smallholdery wife stuff does seem an easier task.
I don't think I could even lift the axe off the ground, let alone swing it up in the air and over my head, hoping to aim for the chunk of upended wood to split it in two.
Saying bye for now,