homegrown love

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Homegrown veggies are love. Homemade produce is love. Grandmas are love. Grandma’s recipes to make homemade produce with homegrown veggies… well that’s a big old dose of homegrown love wrapped in a comforting sentimental crocheted blankie.

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Yesterday was Grandma’s Tomato Sauce day again here at Dove Cottage. It was the first time my sister and I have made it with our own homegrown tomatoes, all 17 kg’s of them! And boy were we in awe of Grandma… again. By the time we finished we were totally exhausted and wondered how Grandma used to manage it by herself as she was getting older.

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There were the usual culprits on the day… giggles, sticky pots, remembering Grandma, lots of dishes, piano playing, tears, lots of stirring, overflowing sauce bottles, and a house smelling of sweet spicy tomatoes.

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One of the most special parts of the day is when the Piano is played. The Piano has such a strong connection to both my Grandma and my Gran. My sister played on Gran’s Piano, using my Grandma’s music book, with skill and feeling nurtured by my Grandma… and she played Für Elise, the song I would always ask Grandma to play. I guess it’s stating the obvious when I tell you that’s when the tears came into the play for the day?

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I had such a healthy crop of juicy ripe tomatoes (which are still coming), that I had enough to try my hand at some semi dried tomatoes as well. I used the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane recipe and was so pleased with how well they turned out. Tasty little flavour filled bursts of sunshiney goodness.

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I also have a basket of Clingstone Peaches ready for stewing or baking into cakes. And the last of my Granny Smith Apples need picking too. Plus I’m busting to try this Green Tomato Salsa. I am learning how much time and effort goes into growing and preserving your own food. And I’m learning how satisfying it feels to do so. It’s reaffirming, I’m on the right path heading towards the semi self sufficient farmy dream. Granted there’s no farm yet, this is just the small scale suburban back yard version, but you gotta start somewhere right?

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Making Grandma’s Tomato Sauce is not just about the bottles of sauce at the end of the day, though they are pretty darn good! It’s about homegrown love, sister love, remembering Grandma’s love and kindness, honouring memories, feeling grateful for lovely loving grandparents, and taking a little wander down a very beautiful sentimental lane.

How about you, is there a special recipe in your life? Do tell.

Wishing you homegrown love and sweet juicy tomatoes.

grandma’s tomato sauce

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My dear sweet lovely Grandma passed away some years back now… It doesn’t feel that long ago… but then it seems like ages…

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Grandma used to make the best tomato sauce… it really wasn’t like most tomato sauces… it was a little spicy… but not too spicy… it’s pretty famous in our family…

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For the last few years before she died, my sister and I would make tomato sauce with her… These days are such sweet memories now… there would always be some of her beautiful piano playing too… she was an amazing pianist and taught my sister and I when we were kids, and then taught my kids when they were little too. I still tear up sometimes when I hear Fur Elise… except when it’s the Mr Whippy version!

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But I digress… back to the sauce… my sister and I have tried to keep up the tradition of making Grandma’s tomato sauce… most years we manage it and when we don’t, we yearn for that delicious tomato sauce.

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We have to tweak the recipe a little bit for me and my allergies these days… and that means two different batches… in three pots… because we don’t have two pots big enough. The one jumbo pot we do have was Grandmas…

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We use Grandmas Meuli and funnel too… there’s something pretty special about that…

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Tomato Sauce day is a big day… we started just before 8am and finished around 4pm… but boy did it fly… there may have been hysterical giggling involved too…

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It didn’t all go smoothly! This is what happens when you are juggling two batches, three pots, bottles in the oven, and chatting away with your Sis… Burntarse pot… no great damage – the burnt flavour didn’t go thru it, we salvaged the sauce just in time… can’t say the same for the pot… it’s still soaking!

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Those old vinegar bottles on the right have stored Grandma’s tomato sauce for as long I can remember… I was devastated when we bought more vinegar yesterday and found they now put it in plastic bottles. Man, progress has a lot to answer for sometimes! Luckily my hubby likes a few brands of Rum that happen to have nice bottles… he’s kindly offered to supply however many bottles I need! So generous!

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And this my friends, is yours truly and my sweet sis… what a lovely day we had… keeping traditions… spending time… remembering grandma… and what a bonus it is we end up with a pantry stocked with delicious tomato sauce…

Do you have any family traditions you keep up? Do you still have grandparents around? Do you love homemade tomato sauce?

Wishing you a saucy weekend full of homemade goodness.