Tomato! Tomahto!

Raise your hand if you have a bookshelf full of creative tomes you’ve never read. You saw them at the bookstore and just had to have them. This pattern! That recipe! This idea!

I believe the creative publishing industry is successful because of an average consumer thought process that goes a bit like this: “Oooh. Pretty photographs! This pillow case/tote bag/lemon cake is so different from the other 12 sets of directions I already own…”


And then it ends up in the pile with the others to gather dust. You try not to look at that shelf when you walk by, because nothing makes you feel like more of a failure than all the money spent on more books for ideas you’ll likely never even start, much less finish.

Thanks Finny!

But wait! There is the ocassional ray of creative hope! Finny sent this canning book for my birthday. I’m not much of a canner, but I’ve always wanted to be — in part because Fin sends the most delicious Christmas packages with pickles and jams and other goodies she’s made from her garden. I have a serious case of, “Why can’t I do that?! Gah. I wanna!” every time I get such a thoughtful gift. I also grew up with pantry shelves full of delicious jellies, pickles, beets and asparagus — much of which came from family friends in Minnesota.




The other day I saw that canning book on the dreaded shelf where ideas go to die, and dusted it off. I put it on the kitchen counter and have been browsing here and there, thinking of what I can do with this or that out of the garden. Well! When my friend Rae recently went out of town leaving me with a CSA basket full of tomatoes, and my Jess said she’d be interested in coming over to help — I knew canning day had arrived.


{Side note: Jess is La Domestique. If you’ve never visited her food blog, it is what I aspire to be. Her photography, recipes and dedication to the craft are A+.}


Three hot and sweaty hours later, tomatoes with basil from the garden — canned!

Sweet tomato action

(Really, only six jars of tomatoes? I KNOW. I so value homemade canned goods now. I didn’t appreciate how much work went into saving food this way.)

Next up: transforming tiny crab apples on my tree into chutney and jam. And perhaps dusting off that shelf and making a donation to the local library. Life is to short to be burdened with literary guilt.*


*Speaking of, did I mention I’m in a summer book club trying to tackle Infinite Jest? The chances of me finishing this thing before I burn it are slim to none.  As one book club member recently mentioned, “Uh, I totally get why DFW killed himself. Dude had demons.” And, if that doesn’t make you want to curl up and read, I’m not sure what will.

4 Replies to “Tomato! Tomahto!”

  1. OH! I love that book — it’s the only canning book that I’ve ever actually used! It definitely deserves a spot on the “resurrection” shelf.

  2. So glad you took the leap! Canning is a lot of work, but totally worth it. I never did get around to putting in a real garden this year, so my canning has been very limited. Enjoy your tomatoes!

  3. You are going to enjoy those tomatoes come winter!!!! Yummy!! Last year I made 6 jars of spiced peaches and we enjoyed every tasty morsel, a ton of work, but so worth it. So far this year, I’ve canned 6 jars of strawberry jam, from our garden–the whole thing Stretton-Made–Wow!

    Just an aside–I landed my “dream job” this week, I begin working in the children’s section of the library within walking distance of my home. wish it was close enough to recieve some of your “donations”–no don’t send them, give them to your library! There’s some folks waitin!!!!

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