Summer time brings back memories of Mum and Dad’s vegie garden and the glut of ripe juicy tomatoes. Dad would check the vines morning and night to pick the tomatoes before the pesky birds and insects attacked them. Our kitchen would have huge bowls of ripe tomatoes, that we would eat like apples, juice and tomato seeds dribbling down our chins. The tomatoes that were just ripening would all be sitting along the kitchen window, and my mother would rotate them so that they ripened evenly.
My mother was very resourceful and would use the overabundance of tomatoes to stock up on homemade relish and tomato sauce. All family members would be called to the kitchen, including my Dad, and we would chop up tomatoes and onions for relish and sauce. There was always a bit of a battle as to who would be landed with cutting up the onions.
Mum would stock up on vinegar and other condiments, and pull out her large pots. All the bottles and jars that she had saved through the winter months would be pulled out, rewashed and dried, and lined up ready for the bottling. Soon the wonderful aromas of garlic, spices and tomatoes would be wafting out of the kitchen, as Mum stirred the tomatoey mixture that bubbled gently in large pots on her stove. She would careful test small amounts of the sauce in a spoon at different intervals to check how it was setting, and if it need to be cooked a little longer.
As soon as the sauce reached the required thickness, it was taken off the stove and it was time to bottle the mixture into the shiny clean bottles (of all different sizes and shapes) that were lined up on the kitchen skink. When the sauce had cooled in the bottles, Mum would seal, label and date them ready for the pantry cupboard and gifts to family and friends. Even after we were married, my husband expected to be given a bottle of Mum's tomato or plum (that is another recipe) when ever we visited. Here is Mum's recipe if you feel like trying it for yourself.!!