We started our morning off with coffee on the front porch. It's not a view of the lake but it gets the morning sun and we get to overlook the garden. However within no time we are right at it because one sister is leaving at 11 a.m. and we can use all the help we can get.
Two large pots filled with water on the stove so that I can blanch 5 bushels of tomatoes! Within a few minutes of adding some tomatoes to a small strainer putting them into the water and going back for more tomatoes, bending over and over again, I realize I could be in trouble and maybe not be able to walk tomorrow. So I ran around the house finding items so that I can bring these bushels and also the white pales up closer to my waist line. Easing the amount of bending.
Outside two of the sisters are washing and inspecting the remainder of the tomatoes. Oh what a beautiful day and look at the lake! If that doesn't make the job more enjoyable......
Do you believe that when they started this several years ago they did it all by hand and finally decided to buy an electric grinder. They set it up outside because little did I know the mess this machine would make. I would get my turn at everything, they said.
So like the tomatoes for the salsa I would boil them enough for the skins to be soft, this would help them go through the grinder better. Once I had a full bucket I would bring it outside. The person on the messy side would fill the machine with tomatoes, scrape the tomatoes coming out, and add some of the pulp back into the machine to help thicken the sauce. The other person just kept plunging the tomatoes down the hole.
This was one messy job and hot when you were being splatted with hot tomato sauce. I didn't do this job very long. The tomato sauce ran into a bucket that held a pillow case and the bucket had holes in it to allow for water to drain, again to help thicken the sauce.
The sauce would then be transferred back into the clean buckets and we started working on the making of the sauce. I can't really remember the measurements but I think it was 1 cup onion with some oil cooked until soft and added to each pot of sauce. You can also add some bay leaves to the pot or drop them into the bottom of your mason jars.
The mason jars are heated, and the lids are boiled all the same process as the salsa. We had our issues from exploding jars to jars where the sauce was just so overheated in the jars they had pushed off the lids and the sauce was seeping out. This was a little discouraging because the whole pot has to be emptied and filled again.
On the 3rd day I could hardly lift my right arm from lifting every tomato in that pot and out again. Ok well almost every tomato. We ate and ate again, we swam, we shared some wine. We played the music loud and danced. The sisters reminisced and shared some family stories but no one ever told me.....
"How do you get those shoes on with your feet so big"?