Date posted: October 19, 2009

Tomatoes, Pressure Cookers, & Turkeys

Willliam's first gardening

I think by now I have harvested close to 40 lbs of fresh ripe tomatoes. I mostly have Bradywine and Myonas, a medium sized round red tomato a friend gave me, looks likeĀ  Carmellos and also Black Zebras from the same friend. Most of the poundage came from the Brandywines. They were huge. Though I have been lax about weighing harvest this season (way too busy), I feel certain each main harvest was at least 10 lbs. The cost of organic heirloom varieties is about $6/lb. So I think we’ve saved about $240 on tomatoes and enjoyed more than we’d ever be willing to pay for.

I planted as large an area I could negotiate given the massive home construction. I had dreams of using grandma Lupe’s pressure cooker to can tomatoes for the first time. Pressure cookers have scared me (the whole lid-blowing-off thing) but after gaining inspiration from Novella’s recent post, I went for it. My nephew, William, and I picked tomatoes and did some fava planting. Well, I did. He more like bored a hole in my lower back while enjoying the view.

I baked loads of tomatoes with a touch of olive oil and scooped them into hot sterilized canning jars. The jars got placed in the hot water awaiting them in the pressure cooker. I actually submerged these to about 1/2 inch from the top (are they supposed to be submerged entirely? Do the seals hold up to that?). I added one tablespoon of concentrated organic lemon juice to all the jars for extra measure.


Dipak had to rely on distant memories of his mother using a pressure cooker to help me out. Wait until the weighted top is making noise, time from there. When done, turn off heat and remove weight. Let steam out and then remove lid. I used a 10lb weight and cooked quart containers for 20 minutes; pint size for 15 min. For kicks I did a batch in a hot water bath as well. Those I boiled for 1 hour.


I truly hope I did this correctly and will find out soon enough.

Also this weekend, I really missed my turkeys from last year, mostly Nash and Fern. I really liked those kids but good lord they were good eats. I spontaneously decided to acquire another Narragansett. I think it is a hen and I could not help naming her. But I’ve decided to stick to food related names. So her name is Anise. I am also near completion of my rabbit hutch but have to return to school focus until Thursday. So be it.


  1. El

    Don’t let pressure canners scare you!

    But: can I scare you for a minute? 1. you only need about 2-3″ of water in the bottom 2. your heating instructions are fine 3. never remove the weight 4. just let the pot cool so the jars come back to normal pressure. Coming to pressure takes about 20 mins or so if you’re in a hurry to get a 2nd batch going. I just leave the thing on the stove–overnight even–and go about my business.

    And I stick with food names for my edible birds too! Chicken Patty, The Colonel, and Thanksgiving Dinner are walking around outside right now.

  2. Esperanza

    El- your chicken names are hilarious. Thank you for the feedback on pressure cooker canning!

  3. stefaneener

    I have a spare canning booklet that will probably apply to your cooker. . . we can do a trade. Your farmhand is pretty cute.

    You go with the turkeys! I plan to buy my own little Mr. Drumstick this year, because I’ve done the math on feed and wear and tear. No, thank you!

Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>