Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Preserving Tomatoes

There's nothing "cottagey" about our Turkish summer house, as much as I like to reference Torontonians' "going to the cottage" on summer weekends whenever I explain to non-Turks what a yazlık is. Our doors and windows don't creak; our neighbour is 10 metres away; our mosquitoes are drugged every evening by gardeners so that we aren't bothered by them; our beach has been replaced by a perfect lawn so that no one has to deal with sand getting everywhere; our water is turquoise and warm; our gardens are manicured.

Still, I've been engaging in "cottagey" behaviour. Like my mother, who spent our summers at the cottage picking wild fruit and making jam, my husband and I have been spending considerable time preserving tomatoes.

It has felt so good getting my hands and clothes dirty, sweating in the name of "old fashioned hard work" and producing something! When else would I have the time/energy/motivation to peel even one tomato, except on holiday surrounded by like-minded people who insist on helping?

Resolution: to do a little more of this kind of thing in my "real" life.

Some stats from the most recent batch:

20 kg of tomatoes for 15 Lira (about $10cdn)
19 1-kg jars
5 pairs of helping hands
5 hours of labour

Step by step in photos:


  1. And we KNOW how important tomatoes are to the Turks!

  2. "Imported" tomatoes in Toronto cost between 99¢ and $1.99 per POUND at the present time, perhaps because they're RED. So that's the equivalent of 2,5 to 6 TL per KILOGRAM, I think....LOL! Meanwhile, the tasteless waxy pinky / orangey / greenish ones cost less, as they have yet to ripen.