Caught red-handed

My first time at a Georgia Organics conference, I thought it was cute that each day opened with Farmers Yoga.

Oh, silly Jenn.

Not cute. Necessary.

The more time I spend growing and preserving food, the more I realize yoga will save your tookus during homesteading’s special moments, like the occasional eleven hour canning marathon.

Storing fifty pounds of peaches a few weeks ago nearly crippled me, but I was better prepared for the 75 pounds of tomatoes that came home with us on Saturday. After each of the eight batches, I’d do five minutes of stretches to keep my Achilles tendon from popping like Jack White’s guitar string.

Goodness knows what the neighbors thought, if they caught a glimpse of me through the window doing Downward Facing Dog in front of the oven. No matter. Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Attack of the killer tomatoes
The technical term for this amount of produce is a “crapload.”

The good news is the instructions are pretty straightforward, and you get into a rhythm after the first couple of go-rounds, so there’s no wasted time:

  • Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for one minute
  • Dunk in cold water to remove skins
  • Chop and place in sterilized jars with some lemon juice
  • Fill jars with boiling water
  • Process in water bath canner for 40 minutes
  • Begin next batch, so it’ll be ready for the canner as the previous one comes out

Boom. That’s all there is to it. There was even time to break for a little BLT action. Or rather, a Fakin’, Lettuce, and Tomato.

BLT magic
Anyone else disturbed that this meat substitute looks like bacon roll-ups?

The final tally? Sixty-six pints of local, organic tomatoes for little more than a dollar per pound. To the naysayers who claim fresh, organic food is cost-prohibitive, this is my response. 

Making progress

In all seriousness, most of us have to pick our battles. With work, family, and a million other obligations, we don’t have time to preserve 100% of our food. But tomatoes are the best bang for your buck, while offering a wide variety of meal possibilities — whether you’re in the mood for pico, pizza, pasta, or pie.

So why not head down to the farmers market this weekend and give it a shot? It could become a new family tradition. And I don’t know why, but food always tastes better when you’ve had a hand in the production. Even if that hand had to support a few warrior poses in the process.

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