So, this past week I did not go to RWA National Conference. Nope. I didn’t stay up too late, drink too much, have great meals with wonderful friends, hug people I don’t see often enough. I didn’t pitch novels or jump up and down with glee with friends that had successful pitches, and I didn’t get to applaud the Rita and Golden Heart winners or console the losers.

Instead, I made tomato jam and applesauce and wrote my fingers off. It doesn’t seem to be a fair trade until I realize how happy my credit card is that I didn’t go!

So, it starts with tomato plants. The 20 plants I have in my yard yielded this:

Picked July 20, 2013

Picked July 20, 2013

(and there is plenty more where that came from) This is only 3 pounds; I had to go out and pick more. So after my post last week about tomato recipes, the hubby says well, when are we making tomato jam? And so…this weekend it was time.

After roughly chopping tomatoes (no need to skin them, thank goodness), they all went into the pot, along with chopped onion, finely chopped green apple, cumin, coriander, salt, half cup of brown sugar and one and a half cups white sugar.

Everything in the pot, all stirred up. Let's call it pre-jam...

Everything in the pot, all stirred up. Let’s call it pre-jam…

As it cooked down, it tasted really yummy – hint of spice plus a hint of sweet.  I was excited – there were so many possibilities with this tomato mixture. You could put it on nachos, spread it on sandwiches, use it with cheese and crackers…I wondered how many jars I’d get out of the deal. I had twelve 8 ounce jars in the canner, boiling. I’d have enough to give away to friends and family, and still have some left for us. I daydreamed as the mixture cooked down.

Finally, after two hours and change and lots of stirring so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom, we had jam.

It's jam!

It’s jam!

I prepped the jars, filled them, wiped the rims…then put them in the canner and followed directions.

5 jars of jam!

5 jars of jam!

After fifteen minutes, I pulled out the jars and wiped them before setting them on the towel-covered counter. It wasn’t the twelve jars I was hoping for, but five jars is better than none. Next time I’ll chop seven pounds of tomatoes instead of 3.5 pounds.

Note: We had some this morning with breakfast. And I was a bit disappointed in how sweet it was (well, hello 2 cups of sugar). Next time I’ll back off on the sugar, and maybe add another onion. Or some chili pepper, for an extra kick. I’ll still use what I have on nachos and etc, as the jam is definitely tomato-y and not strawberry-e, but I’m going to go for something a little spicier.

As for the applesauce? Four pounds of apples. 2 pints of sauce (cinnamon, no sugar). Here’s the proof.

It's a darn good thing we have more apples on the tree...

It’s a darn good thing we have more apples on the tree…

So, while I didn’t get to run myself ragged for a week in Atlanta with a whole bunch of old friends and new friends and friends I’ve yet to meet, I did soothe my inner farmer gal by harvesting what we’ve grown, and saving it for another day. Seems a fair enough trade.


Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, cheers!