Annual Tomato Soup

(republished from August 27, 2014)

Move over Campbell’s, I am now and forever more ruined and must insist upon fresh tomato soup. As I am racing to process tomatoes faster than the garden produces them, this week I took a day to try my hand at an old childhood favorite. Not only did it turn out well, unlike a few recent domestic disasters, but I was able to use several of my new kitchen toys to get the job done.

I used a number of different types of tomatoes for the task, the only requirement was each one be healthy and ripe. After cleaning 6 flat boxes (as shown in the photo above) of ripe tomatoes, I cut out the tops and sliced them into half, quarters or eighths depending upon their size.

With my new Victorio Food Strainer secured to the counter top, I began cranking. This machine magically separates the seeds and skins from the juice and pulp. It reminded me of the play dough plastic spaghetti making machine we used as children. What fun! Filling the hopper half full with tomatoes, then squishing and cranking, I emptied the juice and pulp bowl into the big kettle (Pop’s Pot) every time it became more than half full.

Victorio food strainer
When I was finished straining the tomatoes there was more than 3 gallons of puree in the kettle. I took the opportunity to hose down the counters and wash the equipment as the longer it all sat, the stickier it became.

Next I broke out the instructions for my new food processor. I have never owned one before and after using it I’m not sure how I made it this far in life without one. Better late than never. This was one of those purchases where Cog was looking over my shoulder as I watched YouTube videos on how to make tomato concoctions and he began researching through Consumer Reports to find just the right one. Before I knew it, he had ordered me this.

After reading the how-to’s and do-not’s I proceeded forward with great confidence. Again, what fun. First I pureed several onions from the garden. No tears! Next after cutting it into large chunks I pureed a whole bunch of celery. As these liquified garden vegetables were created I added each to Pop’s Pot, which was now simmering on the stove.

I added a cup of white sugar (some recipes call for brown sugar, some white), 4 Tablespoons of canning salt and a few shakes of ground cloves. Bringing this to a gentle boil, I decided it passed the taste test. (Perhaps a tad more sugar next time?)

This recipe made 22 pints of soup. As it contained low acid vegetables such as onions and celery, it required 40 minutes of processing in a pressure canner once the gauge reached the appropriate pressure for my altitude.

As an added bonus Cog decided my staying up until wee hours to continue processing extra batches of chili in the canner had gone on long enough. This past week he duplicated my pressure canning set up, as described in my Chili is a Gateway Drug article, and bought another ceramic burner and 23 quart Presto pressure canner so I could run them in stereo when my batches were large enough to warrant. As you can see in this image below of the corn being processed, I needed to run the two pressure canners on different electrical circuits. So I located them on either side of the new kitchen setup.

messy corn ops

I had to wonder if the laws of physics differed from one side of our kitchen to the other. Why would two of the exact same products filled with identical contents and turned up to the same setting at the same time reach the desired pressure at different rates? Always thinking out of the box, Cog surmised the amount of heat given off by the ceramic burners differed slightly, enough to cause the difference resulting in the two canners reaching their targeted pressure at different times.

tomato soup finished 

 Do you have a variation to this recipe? We’d love to hear from you.