My tomato harvests have been ramping up now that the warm weather is here. On Sunday I harvested over 28 pounds of tomatoes. With this many tomatoes it’s time to start canning. The recipe I’m starting with is tomato soup. I made this last year it was by far our favorite canned item. We finished off all of the jars earlier this spring, so this year I need to can more than I did last year (31 pints).
I’m particularly excited about this soup because this year I grew my own celery. I also started a lot of onions, but onions are one of those things that don’t do all that well in my garden, so I’ve been buying them at the farmer’s market.
6 onions, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 quarts fresh tomatoes (or 5-6 quarts of juice) *I coarsely chop mine in quarters leaving the stems on them since I’m putting them through a food mill.
1 cup sugar (I find this is too much and I use less usually 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup salt (I usually add 2 T and then taste before I add more)
1 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1. Chop onion& celery. Place in large kettle w/ just enough water to keep them from burning. While this simmers, cut tomatoes (remove stems if not using strainer).
2. Add tomatoes to kettle & cook until tender.
3. When tender put through Victorio or Squeezo (or similar food mill) strainer. (reserve 2 cups for mixing with butter/flour)
4. Return to kettle, add lemon juice, sugar & salt.
5. Cream butter and flour together& mix thoroughly with two cups of reserved juice (chill so it’s cold), until dissolved (or blend together in a blender), to avoid lumps of flour in the juice. Add butter/flour mixture to warmed tomato juice. (Add before it’s hot, to avoid lumps of flour!). Stir well.
6. Heat just until hot. (If it gets to a boil, it can make the flour lumpy). Just prior to boiling, turn off the burner. (It will continue to thicken as it cools.).
7. Ladle into hot jars with 1/4 headspace, close securely with lids.
8. Put in canner & process 30 minutes (start timing when it’s at a ‘rolling’ boil).
9. Remove from canner & allow to set until sealed (approx. 12 hours) To serve, mix equal parts tomato concentrate to milk, and add 1/2 t. of baking soda per pint as it cooks (1 t. per quart). I actually prefer to add chicken stock to mine instead of milk & baking soda. I serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated romano cheese, a sprinkle of cayenne and a little freshly ground black pepper.
**Some people say this isn’t long enough in a canner, some people say you should only pressure can this recipe. I’m happy with it and am quite comfortable making it and processing it in this way. If you’re uncomfortable with this method use whatever canning method you’re comfortable with.
What’s your favorite home-preserved garden food?