So with a smile on my face I headed to the kitchen.
You remember all the wonderful veggies I got at the Farmer's Market on Saturday? Today they will end up in chili sauce. My Darling loves Chili Sauce on Pot Roast, Scrambled Eggs, and many other things. I make it about once every 4 years, and when I do I make as much as I can get done in a day. It lasts us a while.
Today, it Chili Sauce day, and I hope you like seeing the processes.
I already showed you the 1/2 bushel of fresh ripe tomatoes I bought.
I washed them carefully.
Then I placed them in simmering hot water.
They stay there just a minute or two, until the skin on the tomato splits.
When I see the skin split I ladle the tomatoes out of the hot water and put them in ice water to quickly cool them down. I want them to remain firm so I can skin them.
The tomatoes love being in the cold water to cool. But don't leave them there too long or they go mushy. I just get them cooled off and then drain them as soon as I can.
When they are cooled I use a paring knife and peel the skin off.
I save the skin to put in my compost.
When I have the lovely tomatoes skinned I quarter them.
I pile all the tomatoes in a big bowl and they take turns smashing each other down. It doesn't matter if they are smashed, because they will soon be in "hot water" again.
Remember the dirty green peppers and the long chili peppers?
Well, I washed them.
I chopped them.
I ran out of them.
My daughter saw my plight and drove to the store for more green peppers for me.
And I washed and sliced the onions.
There are yellow onions and white onions from my neighbor Connie and Norman's garden.
They are fresh and pungent, and my hands smell now.
But I used my Food Processor to slice the onions for the Chili Sauce.
I just had to cut them smaller to fit in the tube thingy on the processor.
But I didn't mind, that was better than cutting the whole dang batch by hand.
One of the secrets to making Chili Sauce is the seasonings that are used.
Cinnamon sticks, mustard seed and whole cloves.
You can't believe what a difference they make to the sauce.
I use Cheese Cloth to put my seasoning in.
I tie them very tight into the cheese cloth so they make a little bag.
Then they simmer with the tomatoes all day..... 4 hours of blissful simmering to send the best aroma through the house, out the door, and to the neighbors open windows and doors (if they were open).
I also dissolve some sugar and salt in some Apple Cider Vinegar. I heat it just enough to be sure everything is dissolved and then add it to the pot of simmering tomatoes and seasonings and onions and peppers.
This will simmer for 4 hours. I stir every once in awhile to be sure it isn't sticking on the bottom. It isn't, if the heat is just a simmer. I have burned it before when I got impatient. Don't get impatient. This is too much effort to waste by being in a hurry.
So, while it is simmering, go out side. See if it is raining. See the Flags flying in the wind. The Flags are out today because it is Columbus Day. Check to see if your scare a crow has lost it's new witch hat.
When I was ready to get back to work I gathered more supplies.
I like to sterilize my bottles in an electric fry pan. Nearly all the burners on the stove are being used, so it is easier to do it in an electric fry pan.
I add a little apple cider vinegar to the water so the minerals of the water won't leave a scum on the bottles and the lids. I don't use much. Just about a tablespoon or so.
I also put a dish cloth inside the bottom of the fry pan to protect the mouths of the bottles. They can get to rattling somethin' awful if you don't give them a little cushion.
I put the flat lids in here too, so they can be sterilized and ready when I fill the bottles.
After 4 hours, and smelling my entire house with the fragrance that is simply divine, I am ready to ladle the Chili Sauce into the sterilized bottles.
Check the mouth of bottles to be sure they are clean, and no sauce has dribbled on the rim. The bottle won't seal if they are messy. So wipe a clean cloth on the rim of the bottle to be sure, and then place the flat lid on and screw the ring on tight.
When you have 7 or 8 bottles ready then put them in the water bath to processes. Be sure the water covers the bottles with 2 inches of water. You need the bottle immersed in the water to process properly.
The water should be hot and bottles are hot and the chili sauce is hot. Slowly submerge the bottles. Be careful to have each bottle standing upright.
I did the first batch in 1/2 pint bottles. The rest are in pint bottles.
The 1/2 pint bottles make great gifts. So I like to have a few on hand.
Cover the pot, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. If you are in a higher altitude the processing time must be increased to assure proper sealing.
When you are waiting for the "pot to boil" is the time to start cleaning the kitchen. It gets a little messy.
Now is the time to take the tomato skins out to the compost.
If you are thirsty, hydrate your wee body. Now is the time to take of your self.
Then, before you know it, the timer will beep and the processing is completed.
Carefully remove the lid from the pot, keeping it away from you! It is hot and steam is going to come out, so keep it away from your face and body. Put the lid in the sink.
I use wooden spoons to get the handles of the rack out of the boiling water. Then I carefully lift the rack up and secure it on the edge of the pot.
I have a clamp thingy that I put over the bottle neck and lift the bottle out and place it on a dish towel to cool.
I place the bottles about 1 inch apart so they will cool and seal properly.
It isn't long until the familiar "pop" sound is heard.
I do the happy dance and flip a dish towel in the air! It is the best sound of the afternoon.
My grand baby was the best sound of the morning.
Today I got 21 bottles. Some are 1/2 pints and some are pints. But they all look marvelous darling! They all sealed. They are all labeled and boxed back into the bottle boxes to take downstairs and be put on the shelves.
The shelves are getting more and more food on them.
We have a food storage I am proud of.
Now, I have dishes to do, pots to scrub, and counters to wash off......
Where is my maid?