Holy Tomatoes!

(notes from my personal journal: December 12, 2011)

It is the tail end of tomato season and I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to preserve a bunch for the year.  I was thinking of asking my regular veggie lady to go to market and get me a bunch. Instead, a woman came to my house and I bought a bucketful from her.

She barely spoke English so, through Watchman Paul, I communicated that I would like 2 more buckets full if she could come back later today or the next day. She was happy to remove the headpan and show the large amount of tomatoes she had in the basin below.  Imagine that it was just a little more than 2 buckets worth. Now I had 16 cedis worth of tomatoes and had to make a plan to deal with them. Most of them were in good shape so I just washed them. The ones that were mushy, I ground up right away and cooked them well.  I had already borrowed a pressure canner to take care of the pumpkin puree that I have so I just changed my plan from pumpkin to tomatoes. I made the ground tomatoes into pizza sauce. It will be a nice change since I usually forget about the sauce until the last minute and just use tomato paste.  The next day I diced up the remaining tomatoes and canned them.  I now have about 12-15 cups of pizza sauce and 6 quarts of diced tomatoes. I have a lot of tomato juice and about 10 tomatoes that are left. It was worth the work!


10 thoughts on “Holy Tomatoes!

  1. Most of the time in Ghana I had at least a small freezer, sometimes a larger one. Early on a Ghanaian friend taught me to freeze tomatoes (she taught home science in a secondary school). I just washed them and put them in bags in the freezer. When ready to use them, just run under the tap or dip in cool to lukewarm water to peel the skin right off. then they can be chopped and used in stews or soups. They aren’t good to use like raw, as they get mushy as they thaw. But I still do that with tomatoes here. During less busy seasons in the winter, I can take a whole bag or 2 of tomatoes out of the freezer, peel them under the tap, chop them and cook down to sauce. I then refreeze in meal size portions any sauce i don’t need right away. And if I am making stews I can just take a couple tomatoes from the freezer, peel, and chop.

    1. I did know that you could freeze tomatoes but I had no idea how easy it was to peel them once pulled from the freezer. thanks for the tip!

  2. You are so resourceful. My son speaks of you and Paul often. I know you both have done so much for him since he has been in Ghana. You know he is my only child and I appreciate your help. I realize he is an adult, but I don’t have any grandchildren to spoil so I do the best I can. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year I enjoy your new blog, Chris has been on wordpress for some time now, and it is convenient to read. When people ask how he is doing I just jot down the website and tell them to keep track of him that way.

    1. Glad to know you are reading here and it’s nice to “meet” you this way. It’s been great getting to know Chris. Blessings to you in this New Year!

  3. Allison I’m so proud of the way you have been able to adjust to life in Ghana and wonder at the way you have taken to canning. When I was young and canning, I once lost 36 quarts of canned tomatoes during the winter when they froze.

    Now in this day and age you can freeze without canning. I should have known that then.

    I love you all

    1. Often we have more pantry space than freezer space. Also since electricity is unreliable, I don’t have to worry about my freezer going out. It’s rewarding to pull a can off of the shelf. I love you, too!

  4. We – okay, really my wife- still cans and freezes tomatoes here in Northern Illinois each year. In Africa (Liberia) she also canned meat and sometimes vegetables like okra. Somewhere I have a recorded text in Grebo where one of our house helpers narrated the whole procedure so we could study procedural genre of Grebo discourse. He described the pressure canner’s weight as going “chuku chuku chuku” with dramatic flair. These kinds of experiences make me smile. You are building good memories also, Ali. Good job!

    1. I think it’s awesome that you turned this “chore” into a language study lesson! Perhaps I will have the dramatically narrate other kitchen processes to make it a bit more fun. Thanks for the pat on the back. 🙂

  5. Hi Ali, Did you try drying the tomatoes? They are great with Italian dressing. Wish i could be there to help you. I am so proud of you!


    1. I didn’t do any drying this year. When you were here the first time, I borrowed a food dryer to use. I have had supplies to make my own dryer but just never done it. I think I have to stick to one thing each year. This time it was canning tomatoes and some pumpkin. Maybe next year it will be drying mango and pineapple. You’re welcome to come and help. 🙂

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