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How to Can Tomato Juice

Yes, I know it’s easier to can whole tomatoes.  Yes, I know there are mixes out there to make spaghetti sauce.  Yes, Yes Yes.  But, my family doesn’t like chunks, in particular tomato chunks.  So, yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon canning tomato juice.  Here’s a rundown of my method.


Assembly tools. Tomatoes, jars, lids, lid screws(?), canner, food mill, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter.  Not pictured: towels.


Check on the bread in the over.


 Wash and dry many, many tomatoes.


I like to work in an assembly line; cut and core, drain, and then into the pot they go.


Boil down, recipes will try to tell you this will only take 15 minutes or so.  This may be true with a mini batch but this big o’pot took about 35 minutes.


Next is the real fun, seriously it’s my favorite part.  Running it all through the food mill.


Yummy.  Doesn’t that look like a raw meatloaf?


Next 1 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice in each of the slightly warmed jars.  They always start out warm but by the time I’ve dried them all then gotten the salt and juice in them, they’re barely over room temperature.  So far I haven’t had any breakage so I guess it’s okay.

I’m missing a picture for the next step, but it’s pretty simple.  Put the juice back into the pot and bring to a boil.  Let it boil about five minutes before turning off the heat and letting it simmer.

Meanwhile, put the lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a boil.  This helps soften the rubber seals so they fit nice and snug on the jars.  At the same time you’ll want to get your canner boiling.  Leaving the lid on the canner helps to bring the heat up faster.

Once the canner starts to show signs of a strong boil go ahead and begin filling the jars.  Wipe your rims before putting on the dried lids.  Generally I fill all the jars, then wipe all the rims, place all the lids, then screw them all down-lightly.
Once the canner is at a full rolling boil gently drop down your canning rack into the water.  Place each jar in, one at a time, being careful not to slosh or tip from side to side.  It is important to keep the jars vertical from this point on. 

Once all the jars are in the canner, replace the lid, and bring back to a full boil.  Continue to boil for 40 minutes if you’re dealing with quarts, 30 for pints.

ALMOST FORGOT- I can never get the water level right.  Since it has to be one inch over the tops of the jars I always keep a kettle of boiling water at the ready so that I have water to add to the canner if necessary.
After the 40 minutes, carefully remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel.  Remember keep them vertical!  Place them somewhere they can just sit undisturbed.  Once they’ve cooled I go ahead and place them in the cabinet.  Yay, all done.

I’m sure the obvious question is why go through the trouble when it isn’t always saving me any money.  Simple answer, because I like to know what I’m feeding my family and if I can give them something wholesome that I made, I will. 
Erin Sipes
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Homeschool: Where to Begin

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.                       
Malcolm Forbes

For many months, even before the final decision was made, I’ve been scouring the internet for state requirements, legal help, curriculums, personal stories, and anything that can help as we set up our homeschool.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of comparing unschooling, Charlotte Mason, classical education, and a list of other ways of homeschooling, you’re saving yourself a headache.  The more I read the more I thought what I have gotten into?  How am I going to know what kind of books to get, where to start, how to lay out the school years, etc. etc.?  I mean I can divide the required hours into an actual calendar year, but what exactly were we going to be doing to fill those hours?

Enter The Well-Trained Mind.  A classical education fit with the structure and order in which both my children and I thrive, but as I tried to read the book I thought I had made a mistake.  It wasn’t until I stopped trying to read every word that  I realized a comprehensive plan with plenty of room for adjustments was right there; along with a number of different book series for every subject.  For us, this was the How, Where, Why, What, and When of it!


A couple of Amazon orders later and with many, many books ‘donated’ to our humble little school from a fellow homeschooler and family, we’ve begun working on our yearly schedule, which begins in just a couple of weeks.  Yeah, I’ve heard it from the kids why do we have to start in the summer!?  But when I told them we’d have five to six hour days, four days a  week, they quit complaining.

On the social side of things, we’ve been lucky that Teagan’s involvement with PFAA has helped to introduce us to many homeschooling families and I’m very grateful for the class he’s already been taking with some of them along with the advice given.  In August we hope to get more involved with a coop group out of Lebanon and I’m sure that the kids will be playing soccer and hopefully starting piano lessons.

Some people might think we’re crazy and other’s might think we’re brave but what I know is that there is no doubt in my mind that I can provide, just as good, if not a better education for my children than anyone else.  My responsibility as a parent is to help them learn the skills necessary to live productive, fulfilling, meaningful lives.  I’m sure it’s not going to be easy, but life isn’t easy. 

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.                               Theodore Roosevelt

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s had a conversation with me this past year that we have decided to homeschool.  As we work our way through the year I’ll be giving updates about assignments, trips, products and the basic trials and tribulations along the way.
Erin Sipes
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