Monday, December 16, 2013

A Canning Project

While Mom was here, my garden was busy overproducing!  We had an abundance of tomatoes, squash, beans, peas as well as a bountiful harvest of herbs to put up!  My tomatoes just loved the greenhouse this year, and did amazingly well.  One particular plant that I planted grew these extra-large tomatoes, and this particular tomato outdid itself!  We estimated it weighed at least a pound, although I didn't have a kitchen scale to be accurate.

But it took up the whole palm of my hand when I held it!

This is the tomato sitting on a 8" plate... 
in preparation to being the center of attention for our meal that evening! 

Because it was such a huge tomato, we wanted to have it with dinner... 
it was very sweet, juicy, and yummy! 

Then we moved on to even bigger things... canning!  I had been storing tomatoes that were ripe and ready in my refrigerator, and it was overcrowded, and canning was no longer an option, it was a necessity!

With Mom and I both working together, we had the tomatoes canned in no time.  It is quite a job that involves bringing them to a boil to loosen their skins, peeling the skins off, simmering the tomatoes for about 30 minutes, and then pouring into hot sterilized canning jars, and pressure cooking them for 45 minutes.

It took the bigger part of the day to get it done....

But seeing these lovely jars of beauty sitting on my countertop made it all worthwhile!

This winter will be pure enjoyment of fresh salsa, spaghetti sauce and soups!

 That afternoon, we needed to get out of the house for a bit after all that canning, so we decided to go for a drive through Washington state.

We live right on the border of Washington, and it a wildly beautiful state as well.

 We turned down a road that we had passed by many times before, never having the time to explore.

 We were really glad we did!  It was a beautiful drive along the river (don't ask me which one, because I don't remember!.... just blame it on me being 40 now... haha! However, I do think it connects to the Pend O'Reille... )

We had intended to drive farther that afternoon, but the front passenger tire on the van began to leak air, and we had to limp back into town to get the tire fixed, so that was the end of our exploring for that day, as it was time to get home, and get the evening meal ready.

The next day dawned beautiful again, and we went in a different direction.  We took Mom back to Sandpoint and drove up Schweitzer Mountain.

It was another beautiful clear day, and you could see for miles after we got to the Schweitzer Resort.  Mom was on a hunt for huckleberries, and we took some time walking through the fields looking for them, but apparently they had been heavily picked over, and we could find none.  Someone told us you had to go way up, almost to the top of the ski resort to find the berries now.  That was too bad, because Mom was eager to pick some huckleberries, and make huckleberry jam.  But it was fun looking anyway! Mom did end up buying some huckleberries from the local Mennonite store, and we made the jam before she left!

A picture of the north side of Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort...

 This is a picture looking out over the top of the Schweitzer Resort from the lookout deck.

Mom was hoping to get a glimpse of some wildlife while she was there, but none appeared.  We showed her whee we had seen the baby bear cub the very first time we had ever driven out here to Schweitzer.  But, there was no excitement to be had on our trip up or down the mountain...

We stopped at one of the look outs on the way back down the mountain to see Lake Pend O'Reille and the Selkirk Mountain Ranges far off in the distance.

 This is an incredibly beautiful place to visit!  Mom was thrilled to be able to see all the sights of the area, and that is something we always enjoy doing too.  It seems that we never tire of finding new and old places to explore and enjoy here in our beautiful Idaho home!

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