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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Peameal Bacon on a Bun & Canning Whole Tomatoes

Quite often I will make simpler meals during the heavier canning season. The reasons for this is I've already been on my feet for much of the day doing prep work and know I will be canning more after dinner along with the kitchen being cluttered with large canning pots. Yesterday my husband brought home two hampers of tomatoes signalling the start of the tomato canning season so I decided peameal bacon on a bun would make a quick, easy yet satisfying meal.

Peameal Bacon on a Bun

Peameal bacon is a Canadian delicacy so I decided to learn to cure my own peameal bacon. Curing meat is not difficult and homemade is generally less expensive. One question that always arises is how to serve peameal bacon. The most popular way is to serve as a bacon for breakfast, simply pan fried until the edges are golden. However, peameal is a quick cooking meat making it ideal for fast meals so we also use it as a dinner meat. Last night instead of serving with vegetable sides, I decided to make peameal bacon on a bun. The peameal bacon was pan fried then loaded onto a bed of lettuce, topped with sharp cheddar cheese and sandwiched between toasted sesame seed buns. It was a simple, easy and frugal meal that allowed me to get back to processing tomatoes.

Processing Tomatoes

Processing tomatoes is a big production here. I'm very fortunate that a relative grows them so I have a free source. This is very much appreciated this year since I didn't grow any this year with the move. My husband picks up hampers of tomatoes (1) very early in the morning. My goal is to process a hamper a day into various tomato products. In the next couple of weeks I will process at least 10 of these hampers. Yesterday he picked up two for starters but 3/4 of one went to one of the kids so I had 1 1/4 hampers to process. Mind you, I know processing will be a bit slower as I get accustomed to working in my new kitchen that (rolling eyes) still is awaiting countertops and a built-in.

The tomatoes are freshly picked from the field so need to be washed. I rinse them well then cover with soapy water (2) to wash. Once the tomatoes are rinsed twice after their wash they will either be blanched and peeled (3) depending on what I'm making. To slip the skins, I blanch the tomatoes for 2 minutes the transfer the tomatoes to ice water. The skins split and can easily be pulled off. Of course slipping the skins increase the prep time so most home preservers omit that step if possible. I decided to start with canning whole tomatoes so slipping the skins was a must.

Canned Whole Tomatoes

Last year I didn't process any whole tomatoes with the idea that if I canned sauces only it would be more convenient. It was the first and only year I didn't can whole tomatoes. It was a mistake not to do so as whole tomatoes are often needed in recipes and I ran out of frozen whole tomatoes half way through the winter. With freezer space being at a premium this year I will be canning more whole tomatoes than freezing.

About 1/2 of a hamper was washed, peeled then canned into whole tomatoes resulting in 7 quarts of lovely whole tomatoes. Whole tomatoes can be canned using a boiling water bath (BWB) or pressure canned with water or tomato juice, raw or hot packed so it can get complicated. BWB has a processing time for raw packed of 85 minutes for 1 L (quart) or 10 minutes pressure canned. Pressure canning increases the antioxidant properties of lycopene. When you do as much canning as I do saving 75 minutes processing time is critical so I decided to pressure can. The instructions are for tomatoes in water, raw packed then pressure canned.

Canning Whole Tomatoes

whole tomatoes, 3 lb per 1 L jar
2 tbsp lemon juice per 1 L jar (or 1/2 tsp citric acid)
1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Pack the tomatoes into a hot jar leaving 1 1/4 inch headspace. Add lemon juice, salt and boiling water leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and add more boiling water to bring the level to 1 inch head space. Wipe the rims. Adjust two piece lids. Place in canner. When canner is full, lid then vent for 10 minutes. Place regulator on the canner, bring to pressure and pressure can 10 minutes at 10 lb pressure. Allow the canner to depressurize. Remove the jars and allow to cool 24 hours. Check for seal. Label then store.


2 food lovers commented:

mommanator said...

Hey, got any good recipes for yellow squash?

Garden Gnome said...

You know what, I really don't have any. I'm one of those weird people who love squash either baked, grilled or steamed with a little butter and salt so that's how I make it most of the time. I will pre-cook and freeze into individual serving sizes (in archives) and this year I am going to can some so watch for that