Whether your garden overproduced, or you just want to make something fresh and delicious for dinner- this easy tomato soup recipe is packed with goodness!
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Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are a simple meal that our family enjoys, especially when the weather gets cooler and the gardens have been closed up leaving us with thousands of tomatoes!
With nearly 20 tomato plants this year, we had plenty of tomatoes to decide what to do with. My good friend had made a batch of tomato soup and I was excited for her to come over to show me how she did it!
She's a mom of 4 kids too and so she understands what it means to be efficient and quick when it comes to meal prep.
We started with a combination of romas and larger tomatoes, a few green peppers and a couple of onions, washed cored, and quartered.
One of the challenges about making canned tomato soup is that many recipes use ingredients like flour as a thickener or cream for added texture and flavor. Neither of these can be safely canned, even with a pressure canner.
(Believe me, I tried and ended up throwing out 25 quarts of canned tomato soup after a lengthy conversation with the Ball Jar company, so not to risk botulism.)
The other thing about making it for canning is that you need to use an acid.
When you can tomato soup, you have to make sure the acid level is high enough that it will be shelf-stable. But you also don’t want that acid level to affect the soup.
When canning tomatoes, The National Center for Home Food Preservation advises that you use no more than 3 cups of vegetables for every 22 lbs of tomatoes. If you add too many vegetables, you dilute the natural acid from the tomatoes, and your soup is no longer able to be canned.
Sticking to this advised ratio, I added most of my flavorings for this soup in the way of dried herbs and spices.
Once you have a good recipe, made for putting in jars, the process is pretty straightforward:
If you have a blender that doesn’t sufficiently chop up tomato skins, you might want to strain the soup before seasoning and reducing it. Alternatively, use a food mill to puree the tomatoes and get rid of the skins.
The best tomatoes to use are “paste” tomatoes. These are tomatoes that have thicker, meatier walls and contain less water.
This means there will be more tomato and less juice, and the soup will thicken up faster, which is important because thickeners can not be used in homemade canned tomato soup.
Probably the most commonly known “paste” tomato is the Roma tomato. These little tomatoes have great flavor and work wonderfully for making homemade tomato soup.
Acid is incredibly important in making sure your homemade canned tomato soup will stay shelf-stable.
To really make sure the acid level is right, it is common to add lemon juice or citric acid to the jars when you are canning anything tomato related.
You might be worried that lemon juice would affect the flavor of the soup. It does, but only slightly. And your soup won’t taste lemony at all. Rather, it just tastes slightly brighter.
Citric acid doesn’t alter the flavor of the soup at all. So if you’re concerned about the lemon flavor, use citric acid.
However, there is another factor. I found that when I added milk to serve the tomato soup that had citric acid in it, the milk separated a little. When added to the soup that had lemon juice, the milk separation was barely noticeable.
Choose which route is best for your tastes!
Keep in mind that you are making a slightly condensed tomato soup. The finished soup should be slightly thicker than you like to serve it, particularly if you like to add cream or milk to your tomato soup.
Finally, to serve the canned tomato soup, simply pop open the jar, pour it into a bowl or saucepan, add as much milk or cream as you desire, and reheat.
It’s so easy, and it’s a great way to have a quick lunch or dinner ready in no time. This is the perfect way to preserve your summer tomatoes so you can enjoy them all winter long! (And you skip all the extra salt and additives in the store-bought cans of tomato soup!)
I use this tomato soup in all sorts of instances! It's wonderful in our other soups, chili, casseroles and especially our homemade spaghetti sauce! You can even spice it up with some taco seasoning and add it to enchiladas! Really, get creative!
You can also freeze this soup if canning isn't your thing or you don't have a canner. You can omit the lemon juice and could even add butter to the recipe if you so choose and are intending on freezing it. Store your soup in jars or freezer bags. As with all frozen things, I just have to remember to take it out to thaw in the morning.
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