You would think the week before school starts, I would have better things to do with my time then to to stand it in front of a sink peeling 50 pounds of tomatoes. But there I stood on Thursday. Peeling tomatoes.
Each year I usually make two batches of spaghetti sauce. Each batch will produce anywhere from 25-27 quarts of sauce, and two batches ensures we have enough for the up coming year (and yes, I AM out of sauce). For some reason I think I usually do this later, after school starts because I don't normally recall having kids around when I do it (and you can guess why). But Thursday, my two oldest girls were home. So, I put them to work. One peeled and diced onions (and cried), the other chopped carrots and measured out my spices while I peeled away. A short 2 hours later the pot was ready to move to the stove, which in and of itself is quite a manuever because *I* cannot lift it.
But being the ingenious person I am (yeah, right), I move the pot to a towel covered chair. Then I push the chair to the stove. THEN I bring another chair over and *I* stand on the second chair, giving me the leverage to lift the pot and set it on the burner. Thank-you...thank-you very much.
This pot is so big, that my father-in-law had to fashion a special wooden spoon in order to reach all the way to the bottom of the pot.
So, the hard work really is done. Now I get the sauce up to a nice simmer, turn it down, stir it every 2-3 hours (yes, even during the night) and let it cook for about 48 hours. When I am ready to can, it looks like this:
Yes, it IS so thick that the above mentioned spoon stands straight up in the pot. The actual canning process doesn't take too long as long a I'm careful as I'm filling the hot jars. Hot jars+hot sauce+hot lids=no processing. The jars seal themselves. Woot!
And today's haul? 28 3/4 quarts!
Things to note: The jar in the foreground...no it is not full. That will go into the fridge. The spoon in the pot in the sink? Yes, that long stick protruding from the humongous pot? That is touching the bottom the pot. Things not to note: the pile of papers in the corner, the veggies on the counter (dinner) and the plethora of waterbottles to the right of the coffee pot which my children, for some reason will NOT put away once they are removed from the dishwasher.
This was my first foray into "family building spaghetti sauce" and were I to grade it, I'd give it a solid B. Why you might ask? Because when the girls were done, they left EVERYTHING right where it was. Empty canola oil jar? On the counter. Extra onion? On the counter. Paper from opening new spice jars? On the counter. If they help with round 2 (hopefully, tomorrow), we'll see if we can get that grade up to an A.
6 hours ago