350 pounds (soLs)

In the past few days, we have processed 350 pounds of tomatoes. My friend Tricia and I made spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, and salsa with 200 pounds of them. The girls and I have made spaghetti sauce with the remaining 150 pounds.

We’re efficient.

  1. The girls wash the tomatoes, while I peel and chunk the onions.
  2. I smash the garlic cloves, and they peel them.
  3. I chop the red peppers in half while they clean them. 
  4. Then we chunk the peppers.
  5. Stephanie takes the bowls of peppers, onions, and garlic to the other end of the kitchen. She sets up the blender.
  6. I core the tomatoes.
  7. Hannah quarters them. 
  8. Steph runs everything through the blender and dumps it into the giant, 20 quart stock pot.
  9. Sam builds a train track around the kitchen and makes us laugh with his witty jokes.
We can core, chop, and blend 50 pounds of tomatoes into sauce in 45 minutes. Then it simmers and simmers and simmers, eventually becoming thick and ready to can.
The thing I like best is the togetherness of it all. They’ve changed. We can work together on a project and everyone is content. Joyful.  Helpful. It’s the way a family is supposed to be. It is teamwork at its finest. They don’t even like spaghetti sauce. And yet they love standing side by side in the kitchen, chatting, laughing, and cooking.
It’s a moment when I realize my family is just as it is designed to be. I think I’ll eat spaghetti sauce every time I need to be reminded of this.
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  1. Teamwork at its finest! Meals with these tomatoes will taste all the better with the memory of the preparation. My question is, where does one get 350 pounds of tomatoes?!

  2. What a party. I am so amazed that my mother-in-law still does this. Do your skins go in…it seems so hard to get those off. I love that the girls love it and love you more in the process. xo nanc

  3. WOW, that's a lot of tomatoes! And I love your description of the “togetherness” that even mundane tasks can bring between people who love each other. (The fact that “they don't even /like/ tomato sauce” highlights that it's not really about what you are doing, it's about the time you are spending together!)

  4. I loved this line, “They don't even like spaghetti sauce.”
    What a great family memory for all of you that will be relived over and over in your minds throughout the years. That is A LOT of tomato sauce! Yowsers!

  5. So amazing! I am picturing it all in my mind. Like Dana, I thought the “They don't even like spaghetti sauce” added a fun twist. I am glad that you are enjoying this special time with your family and that you will have a reminder for some time to come 🙂

  6. Ruth,
    Your slice reminds me of times watching my mom and gram do the canning of tomatoes and other garden veggies-but mostly tomatoes…I can visualize sometimes how their faces seemed as red as the tomatoes because it was so hot in the kitchen.
    Like other comments, it's hard to believe that they don't like spaghetti sauce-it's time together that matters most! Your slice made me smile!

  7. Can I come for dinner to celebrate? 🙂 It sounds so delicious. What an great family bonding time and a beautiful lesson that your family is just as designed. Blessings.

  8. I like spaghetti sauce, can I come for dinner? Ruth, this is such a sweet story, & sounds like so much fun. I do see what you mean about what a family should be. Exactly right! Thank you for telling about your day, and congratulations on the end result.

  9. Mmm … I think I'll be reminded of this every time I eat spaghetti sauce! I love this slice, Ruth, love the way your family has grown into itself, love the way you tell it. Thank you for sharing this one!

  10. I love that everyone has a role to play in this story, each one being equally important. Cooking and memories definitely go together.

  11. How wonderful that everyone works together to produce such delicious sauces! I usually make freezer spaghetti sauce from our tomatoes but not 350 lbs worth!n(more like 50!)