Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Where is it in Outlander?

Why weren’t many babies born in the spring back in the days of yore? I read in one of the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon — can’t remember which one— that it was because the folks were too pooped to procreate after long hours of harvesting and ‘putting up’ in autumn.

I believe it.

I spent a weekend this Saturday putting up tomatoes.

Just tomatoes. Not corn. Or squash. Or any other fruit, grain, or vegetable that folks in the 18th century (give or take a few hundred years) had to process.

I sauced a small portion of the fruit from my twenty or so tomato plants, most of which I had started from seed. I used some of the bursting-at-the seams red tomatoes and all of the ripe yellow ones (Blondkopchen, I believe) from ONE plant. Still, these were more than enough to keep me up to my elbows in tomato skins and juice.

Typically, tomatoes are blanched, dipped in icy cold water, then peeled, cut up or mashed, portioned into canning jars (or crocks or whatever), steamed or boiled in a hot water bath, then put in a dark place.

Well, I did some of that. After taking a shortcut to saucing, the dark place I chose was the freezer!

It would have taken me many hours longer, but I had a friend. My shortcut. A Squeezo Strainer. It’s an old kitchen tool, designed by an Italian (he loved his pasta sauce, too), all metal, and because of this mechanical wonder, I almost had a crankingly good time 'putting up.' I simply dropped the cored and quartered tomatoes (I re-sized them if they were big; left them whole if they were cherry-sized) into the hopper, turned the handle attached to the spiral auger/shaft, and watched as sauce/juice came out one side while the seeds and skins were blurped out the other.
All went well until it came to those confounded tiny yellow tomatoes. The itty-bitty seeds quickly filled up the grooves in the auger/screw so after a few minutes, the juice backed out the handle, the place of least resistance. I had to discombobulate the contraption, clean out the skins and seeds from the endless grooved shaft, reassemble the unit, and then get cranking again.

In the end, it was still less labor intensive than peeling, pounding and sieving, pouring into canning jars, then processing in hot water for I don’t know how long. So now, with a minimum of effort, I’ll have dozens of pints of tomato sauce before the season is done.

And when the winter rains are falling and the dark and gloom overtake my raised beds, I can still open up the freezer; pull out my homegrown ‘squeezed’ tomato sauce and quick-frozen blanched zucchini, sauté some onions, garlic, and basil, and create a wonderful gluten-free dinner, complete with the smells of summer.

*~* By the way, I’m offering a free e-book copy of Little Bear and the Ladies to the first person who correctly tells me which Outlander book references the lack of springtime human babies and quotes the entire paragraph. Send your answer to First 'postmark' with correct answer wins!
Just the juicy parts of the yellow itty bitty tomatoes

Getting ready to push the yellow tomatoes through the Squeezo. Seeds and skins go into small white bowl in back.

Free copy of this (or any other one of my) ebooks for first correct answer to 'Where (and which book) is it in Outlander?

No comments:

Post a Comment