The right tools for the job

August came, and right on schedule, so did the tomatoes. We’ve been waiting for this. Our cupboards were bare. But dishpans full of tomatoes to can every third day can be daunting.

Through a serendipitous occurrence a few years ago, we were forced to turn on the old gas range in the basement – the one that came with the house, the one I never anticipated turning on. Our kitchen remodeling was supposed to be done well before August. Instead, the kitchen was torn up throughout the entire month. And tomatoes don’t wait.

Fortunately, we had that old stove. Fortunately, it worked. Now I see that the old stove in the basement is perfect for the canning task. Far better than the solid surface electric range in my kitchen. Also perfect are the pans I inherited a few years ago from my mother who canned hundreds (I’m not exaggerating) of quarts and pints of produce every summer for 60 years.

I’ve canned a couple of dozen jars of tomatoes and salsa each summer over the years, but I’ve always cobbled the process together from my regular kitchen pans. It all worked but it wasn’t easy. Not like using Mom’s pans, which all miraculously seem to be exactly the right size and perfectly suited for every canning task.

So now when I start to carry tomatoes into the house, I also pull out Mom’s pans. I marvel how much easier having the right tool for the task makes things. When I use her pans, I feel as though Mom is right there with me helping.

That old stove, those old pans, Mom and me. Canning again. It’s all just right.

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