Saturday, August 20, 2011

Market to marinara in a matter of moments!

Maybe more than a moment, but it hasn't even been 10 hours and my third batch of homemade marinara is in the pressure canner. As we know the journey is much more exciting with photos, and today I will not disappoint. Let's get started already...

I woke up early enough (by my standards) and headed down to the Atlanta State Farmers Market in Forest Park. I wasn't sure what to expect and would have preferred to go with someone, but Kelly is about a million months pregnant and Levi & Andy had a vet appointment. Oh well, my schedule doesn't cater to anyone so I had to take this weekend and make it work for me. I had a goal and nothing was going to stand in the way of me and my peaches!

So this photo below is the basic look of the Market.

Every other aisle has vendors and the opposite aisle is their "alley" (for lack of a better word) where they load in or back their trucks up. It was a little overwhelming with literally two dozen plus aisles to meander around and get lost in.

What you can't smell (and should be ever grateful) is the overwhelming stench of manure. It's not even like I could expect it, there was no livestock. And it's not as if I can't handle that smell if I'm on the ranch, but at the market? Whew!

There are some more permanent, let's call them...stores, and they have a Hodge-podge of items readily available for your purchase. Take a gander at that pinata hanging on the door frame. You know you want it!

Technically I was more interested in the selection of time I'll have to get a better look. Even though I certainly don't need to add to the collection already collecting dust in my kitchen.

On the hunt for peaches I was mostly interested in the produce and there was plenty to choose from. Most of the vendors also supply what you buy from your local grocer or farmers market, the market just means I'm buying it from the source, I think.

I wish I knew what to do with cactus...

Look how beautiful the produce is...

There were a number of vendors selling peaches, but no one had any that were less than a few days from perfect canning age. Because I'm not much of a haggler I went with the guy that was nicest to me and had the least number of customers. It just worked in my head so I went with it. (Next time I'll feel better about haggling.)

On the PYO site I linked to above they said to go early so you don't miss anything. Contrary to that I found a few vendors with better looking fruit (asking $1 less) were unloading when I was ready to leave (around 10 a.m.) So I'm not so sure how important getting there with the sun is, as long as you get there before noon you should be in good shape.

After talking to Anne and pricing out Romas I decided I needed to make marinara. Mostly I was ready to can just about anything, it has been a while since I put up the black beans and I had an itch I needed to scratch!

Roma tomatoes were $10 a box, about 25 pounds. I didn't bother looking around; the guy was nice and his tomatoes looked great so I just went for it. They look small in this photo, but I think they were just shy with me taking a picture of them bathing and all.

I did some research and talked to Anne about a million times but finally decided to go with the easiest/fastest method shown HERE for making the tomato sauce.

1. Wash tomatoes and remove any stems/bruises/yuck.
2. Cut tomatoes in half length-wise.

3. Pound a few times in the blender to your consistency liking.

4. Put blended tomatoes in large pot to cook down.
* Be sure to make sure you have some good juices in the pot when you first turn it on so you won't burn anything.
* And keep stirring it every so often so you don't burn it through the process either.
* I blended a bowlful at a time so I had to go back to step 1 a few times and my cooking down tomatoes seemed to do fine without my every attention.

5. Clean/slice your vegetables and garlic
* I picked up these beauties at the market too. Can you believe I only paid $1 for that huge red pepper?! And only $2 for the three green bells. And they are tasty too.

6. Saute your vegetables and garlic together until you feel good about it.
* I let my onions caramelize real pretty before I added the peppers.

7. Get your jars cleaned and staying warm and cozy in some hot water.

8. And your lids chillin in some almost boiling water.

9. Pull out your pressure canner and get ready to get busy.
10. Don't forget to add your sauteed peppers and spices to your tomatoes to actually make it marinara.
*I looked at a lot of recipes on line and ended up adding to taste: salt, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder & brown sugar.

11. Fill all your jars and screw the rings on just enough to keep it closed.

12. Load up your pressure canner...

13. and let it do its thing!
* Now be sure you follow your canner's instructions, find a blog that actually tells you what to do, or just call your sister Anne. Don't have a sister Anne? Too bad, cause she rocks!

14. After you (carefully) remove your jars from the pressure canner let them cool and listen for the precious sound of popping lids!

By my math each pint jar of marinara cost me $1.13.
That includes the cost of the jars because I'm just getting started and don't have a supply from previous years of canning. But I figure even if it costs me a little more for a little less, there is only one of me so I waste less a little less and feel a lot better knowing I made the marinara and I know exactly what I put into it. I think that price ROCKS!

In a few days we'll see how the peaches feel about taking a hot water bath!


Grand Blanc, MI Stake said...

Beautiful! I'm so impressed.

Cyd said...

You're hilarious. I love how you acknowledge the "feelings" of all your supplies! (And did anyone else see the face in the pot of canning rings?) If you ever have any questions about canning ANYTHING (and I am very serious about the ANYTHING) call my mom. You name it (no matter how weird) and she knows how to can it. Meat, butter, dry baking goods, anything. She's a little obsessed. (And if you could get her making marinara, my family would certainly thank you!)

Captivating Eyes said...

Congrats! I LOVE canning. My mom is getting me into it. I did my first batch of boiled peanuts last month. They were like $15 for a 50 lb box. DELICIOUS!!

Shauna_Rae said...

This looks even yummier! I have canned salsa and stewed tomatoes with my garden tomatoes. NOW I'm wanting to make marinara with all of these that are ripening. Can you come and help me? :)