I'm not much of a gardener, but my wife enjoys keeping a garden. This year, she planted a modest number of tomato plants. Surprisingly they are doing really well. This morning as I cleaned up the dishes from breakfast my eyes rested upon yet another bag of tomatoes. These ones, I decided, would become tomato sauce.
Does one skin tomatoes when making sauce? I'm sure there is a raging debate about this topic, but I decided I would skin mine. I started in on them like they were potatoes but of course that didn't last long. Remembering Grandma Holbrook's tomato skinning method, I put a pan of water on to boil and proceeded to scald my tomatoes. Pulling the loose skins from the fruits, I smiled to myself. Neither Grandmother nor myself could ever have predicted I would one day make tomato sauce, and can the sauce afterwards.
Tomato season at grandmother's house was my least favorite of all seasons. She lived in a mobile home, which was stiflingly hot in the summer. Add to that the heat and steam of several water bath canners, and the smell of unseasoned, boiled tomatoes. It was like sitting in a tomato juice sauna.
For some reason I really enjoy doing things myself. Sure, we could just buy tomatoes that are already canned. We could just buy tomato sauce. Preserving tomatoes may not be necessary any longer, but it is the closest thing we have to a family tradition. I'm sure that Grandmother is enjoying a good chuckle even as I write this.