First, before I tell you allll about my latest canning adventure, allow me some advertising time. Amy over at Homestead Revival is doing a Sizzling Summer Give-Away each day until July 14th! I've loved getting up everyday and running to see what she's posting next. The best part is reading about bloggers and vendors I've never heard of before. Today's give away is from Timber Press. Head over to the Homestead Revival to check it out!

This week I canned bacon, hotdogs (I know, why in heaven's name would you do that? Well, I love my Mister that's why), peaches, tomatoes, corn, and greens beans. I tell you what, bringing this into the house almost everyday is a thing of beauty and makes me say, "Thank you, Jesus!" everytime!

My favorite part of this week was seeing our first tomatoes and okra in the garden. We planted our tomatoes super late so I have been staring at our plants daily hoping that through some sort of telepathy I could make them grow faster... I don't think it worked, but it was worth a shot. And finally, FINALLY, they began to turn that lovely tomato red and I was able to pluck them off, put them in my basket, and skip all the way to the house to show Mister. Then, yesterday, we picked our first okra! We didn't get much, but each plant is loaded with blooms and blossoms! EEEK! So, with our little bounty, and armed with my Ball Blue Book (which I finally bought this past week, too) I was ready to make tomatoes and okra. The two things we couldn't wait to get from the garden together, at last! Here's a step by step:

1. I like to lay out all my ingredients... and add a few that aren't called for... like cayennes and onions. Plus, it looks pretty and I never get tired of looking at those perfect veggies we grew ourselves! I used an even amount of tomatoes and okra, a cup of onion, and a big handful of peppers (we've got peppers coming out of our ears right now - I even put some in my canned peaches! I'm throwing those bad boys in everything!). Chop your onions and peppers and slice your okra. Put them to the side while you do the hard part. Ugh. Tomatoes. Gross.

2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and drop in your tomatoes. Most recipes I've read say to just drop them in for 30 seconds. I like to go a little longer to make peeling easier; about a minute or two.  

3. Carefully, lift your tomatoes and plunge them into ice water. And, yes, that's an easter basket.

4. It took me way too many messes in the kitchen and getting veggie juices all over the counter and floor before I realized, "Dumb Dumb! Do it over a bowl!" EUREKA! No mess! Well... except the mess in the bowl, but that doesn't count. Peel your tomatoes over a bowl and collect all that yummy juice! Hopefully, you'll get good splits on your tomatoes making it super easy... sometimes you don't and you want to say bad words... but don't do that. Also, try not to gag. Tomatoes are pretty nasty when it comes to peeling them. I mean, they're all squishy and slimey and slippery... ew. Anyways, let's move on.

5. Cook your tomatoes and onions for 15 minutes on medium heat. Watch out, if the temperature gets too high it starts shooting tomato bombs... and those hurt. After 15 minutes throw in your okra and peppers and cook five more minutes. This results in a very delicious smelling kitchen.

6. Spoon your tomato mixture into hot jars, tighten lids, and process for 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure (for pints).

Voila! You've got tomatoes and okra!