Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer Days by Kit

Whoever wrote the lyrics to the song, “those lazy, hazy days of summer” didn’t have a garden. If he or she did the words of the song would have been closer to the “horribly hot in the kitchen, I can’t fill one more jar, who eats tomatoes anyway” days of summer.

As you can tell from the other articles on our blog my husband Drew is an avid gardener. He loves the promise of each seed he puts in the ground. And it is an amazing thing to see those seeds fulfill their promise in tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash of all sorts, okra, cantaloupe and watermelons. And new potatoes, but they of course don’t come from a seed. It is a wonder that never losses its ability to delight.

Each morning he walks the 50 yard path to gather the abundance of the garden and bring it into our kitchen. The first weeks of the harvest are always exciting but as the vegetables begin to take over all my counter space the excitement turns into anxiety. What am I going to do with all these vegetables?

After using every salad recipe I can find and giving away as much as I can, the vegetables stare at me as they begin rotting little by little, their full potential in jeopardy of being wasted. I hate to waste things.

So this year the canner came out. I canned years ago. But, I was younger then. I wondered if I remembered how. There are lots of things to know and the penalty for not doing it right is not only wasting the vegetables but possibly making people sick as well. But like riding a bike, (an activity that would be included in a lazy summer day) it did come back as I looked through my recipes, bought new canning supplies and took my own journey of promise with the bounty of the earth. The beautiful red jars of tomato sauce make me feel like I had honored both Drew and the seeds he put in the ground.

There isn’t much left in the garden now. The tomatoes and cucumbers are barely covering one small section of my counter space, the last gifts of the garden. Soon Drew will take down the plants and turn over the soil in preparation for next summer. The rush of all those vegetables taking over my kitchen is long over. Strangely when I opened a jar of the tomato sauce the other day I was humming a familiar tune……. “those lazy, hazy, days of summer.” How soon I forget…

My sister’s tomato sauce recipe – thanks Marnie

8 lbs. of tomatoes (I had to use a bathroom scale to get the right amount)
Peeled and quartered
½ cup salad oil
6 cups chopped onion (about 4 small)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 6 oz. cans tomato paste
4 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 TBSP. brown sugar

And I added about a cup or so of lemon juice to give it a bit of a kick

Heat the oil in a large non-aluminum kettle. Add everything and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Stir often.

Water bath as directed for tomatoes: 30 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts, makes 5-6 quarts


  1. Kit, we love your blog and look forward to each new entry! This morning Freda was slicing chili peppers from the garden, and later today she will be putting up pears from one of our trees. I guess the next things to come in at our place will be pecans - if we can beat the "tree rats" to them!


  2. I remember wonderful Tomato salsa you canned in Anderson!
    Robin Dill