This year, I did something different -- I took a chance and started 10 plants of certified organic heirloom tomatoes from a variety pack. I had no idea what I was getting -- that's the different part. Typically, we all know exactly what tomatoes we like best and grow ONLY that variety. For years, I was an Early Girl fan, but this year has changed that. My 10 plants started ripening about 3 weeks ago with the first being a BLACK KRIM which I'll talk about in another post (very unusual), but shortly after that was the red oxheart (can't identify the variety), and a red striped large paste (can't identify it either, but its unusual), and two separate varieties of orange paste tomatoes. This weekend I was forced to can some of them -- there was simply too many to eat and share; and the whole idea of growing so many WAS to can, so I did the deed and got 5 jars of organic tomatoes for this winter's dishes. Canning is a dying hobby and I'm SO glad my mother shared her skill with me. I started canning about 14 years ago, but found it a ton of work and sorta got out of it until recently. I have to admit, its much easier to pick a can off the shelf, but there's a certain satisfaction to opening your jar of tomatoes knowing everything about the contents -- organic, the variety, where it was grown, etc. To me, that makes it all worthwhile. My 5 jars took me a total of about 3 hours to pick, scald the skins, cut up and stew a little, sterilize the jars themselves/lids/rings, fill the jars and seal. Yes, I'm a bad girl... I don't hot water bath or pressure cook my tomatoes. The acidity helps fight off bacteria in tomatoes and I've never had a problem with spoilage. Although all the nutritionists would tell me otherwise and recommend NOT doing the open kettle method. I'll do a post on each variety of tomatoes a little later. First up will be the PEACH TOMATO! Very novel.