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Stocking the Pantry with Tomato Soup

September 16th, 2010

I’ve blogged about my home canned tomato soup many times. It’s one of my most popular posts, people are always writing asking the recipe and telling me how much they love the soup. It’s one of the few things I can every year without fail. The first year I canned only 30 pints of it and it was gone way too soon. Last year I did 31 quarts and 7 pints and we only have 2 quarts left.

Yesterday I made the first batch of soup this season, most of the remaining tomatoes will be used for soup since I already have 44 pints and 8 quarts of crushed tomatoes. I’m hoping to get at least 35-40 quarts of soup again this year since it makes a perfect quick meal that’s healthy and delicious. It’s also great added to chili and vegetable soup.

I use an old Squeezo to make my soup, this one was handed down to me by my mom. It’s the one we used for applesauce & tomatoes growing up. It’s a relic but still works great, and I love that it doesn’t have any plastic parts. I love pulling it out, I even use the same block of wood on the counter that we used growing up.

I only made one batch of soup yesterday, I’m hoping to make another tomorrow or Sunday. I prefer making double batches so I don’t have to spend as much time canning, but I only had enough tomatoes for one batch. In case you’re interested in the recipe, here it is again. Yesterday I changed it slightly by using whey instead of lemon juice (didn’t have lemon juice but had plenty of whey in the fridge). I also added a few sprigs of fresh Italian parsley since I had some in the garden.

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. (10-12 lbs of tomatoes)
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.

*feel free to omit flour if you don’t want it in your soup, the soup will be a little thinner.

**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.

This is one of our favorite quick meals throughout the year, each quart gives us two meals. I usually make mine with half chicken stock and half whey and we enjoy it with some crusty bread. My pantry will never be without some home canned tomato soup.

What item is your pantry never be without?

31 Comments to “Stocking the Pantry with Tomato Soup”
  1. Kat on September 16, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I have been eyeing this recipe for a couple weeks, and although tomatoes are almost through here (east Tennessee), I am still hoping to get a last big batch at the farmer’s market so I can make this soup.
    I do have a question: my family is vegan–do you think the butter in this recipe could be replaced with a vegan substitute like Earth Balance? Or could I even use olive oil instead? Thank you for another beautiful post.

    Reply to Kat's comment

    • Susy on September 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

      I’m guessing you could use olive oil or even coconut oil as well. If you make a slurry with the flour it should work equally well, although I’ve never tried it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Wendy on September 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      Yes, you could use just oil – or I don’t add any oil or butter. I substitue oil in almost all my butter called for recipes (pancakes, biscuits, etc) I am allergic to dairy products and so I make our soup with no butter and we add just filtered water at the end when it’s time to serve. Our family enjoys it quite well.

      Reply to Wendy's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on September 16, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Jam–a must for flavoring yogurt. Apricot is best, strawberry is good too. Also salsa. I always make salsa. Even this year, when I’ve been hard-pressed to keep up with, well, everything, I still made my salsa. 28 pints, I think, and that probably still won’t be enough.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on September 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

      Oh yes, you’re a salsa queen aren’t you, is that cause you come from AZ? I always make salsa and we have trouble eating it up.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • kristin @ going country on September 16, 2010 at 11:42 am

        Maybe it’s because I lived in AZ for several years. Maybe it’s because I’m a glutton when it comes to tortilla chips and salsa. Who can say?

        to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. MAYBELLINE on September 16, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Chicken Broth
    Garlic / Onions

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  4. Sense of Home on September 16, 2010 at 9:10 am

    We love homemade tomato soup, especially with grilled jarlsberg cheese sandwiches. This recipe sounds like a good one and I have four boxes of tomaotes to ripen and can yet so this might just be the next project, this and a tomato gravy recipe I just came across.

    I have several things I wouldn’t want my pantry to be without. Like the chicken soup I canned, just the thing when you feel under the weather. Also, can’t imagine being without home-canned tomatoes, salsa, applesauce, I could go on….


    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  5. Amy on September 16, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Same as Maybelline….but I also keep whey, keifer, yogurt and beet kavass….

    Reply to Amy's comment

  6. Marcie on September 16, 2010 at 11:55 am

    We love tomato soup also and that sounds great.
    Any chance you know the amount of tomatoes in pounds as opposed to
    Thanks so much.

    Reply to Marcie's comment

    • Susy on September 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      Not offhand, next time I make it I can measure. I use a large 8 cup pyrex and fill it to very full 4 times for each batch.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Susy on September 20, 2010 at 11:10 am

      OK, I’m making a batch and weighed the tomatoes. I’m using around 10-12 lbs per recipe. I use a mix of romas & juicing tomatoes or beefsteaks so if you used roma’s they’d weigh less and juicing tomatoes would weigh a bit more.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. risa b on September 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    LOVE that Squeezo! WANT.

    We have been separating all our (those not immediatel consumed!) tomatoes in this way: the outside, with the peelings on, are sliced off — six slices for a medium size. These all go to the dehydrator. The peeling on each slice prevents sticking in our setup. The “naked” remainder goes into the simmer pot, with onions and salt, destined for canning.

    Soups are with dehydrated veg leaves, much like your pic in appearance. But yours is the much better recipe. M’keepin’ this post!

    Reply to risa b's comment

    • lynnann thomas on September 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

      oh…I have a Back to Basics food mill that is very similar…got it at farm supply store up here in Northern Wis. I have 5 textures of mills and even a grape auger…Also…a steam juicer is a must…then the pulp is incredible easy to mill….then all I’m left with is stems and skin…no waste! thanks for this wonderfully inspiring blog…right now I’m up to my eyeballs in tomatoes…and will most definitely make this soup!!! I may pressure can it though..we’ll see…love and peace..lynnann

      Reply to lynnann thomas's comment

  8. Tina Kay on September 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    This sounds yummy! Tomato soup is my favorite comfort food. Thank you for sharing. Love your blog. It is very inspiring.
    Take care,
    Tina Kay

    Reply to Tina Kay's comment

    • Susy on September 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

      We just had some for lunch with grilled cheese, the perfect meal on a chilly rainy fall day!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Susan on September 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Why the baking soda? The soup sounds great

    Reply to Susan's comment

    • Susy on September 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      If you’re adding milk it keeps the milk from curdling in the acidic tomato soup. I don’t add baking soda since I use stock and whey.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Tommy on September 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    When the tomatoes go through the Squeezo, what do you do with the leftover pulp/skins? Compost only, or can you do something with it?

    I’m going to try your recipe tonight!

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on September 17, 2010 at 7:02 am

      The skins get composted.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Teri on September 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Oh, I must try this! And, peaches, I can’t contemplate a winter without my canned peaches:)

    Reply to Teri's comment

  12. Patrice Wassmann on September 16, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    that sounds great, I will definitely try that recipe! I am curious about the whey though…seems like an odd ingredient, but I have never used it for anything.

    Reply to Patrice Wassmann's comment

    • Susy on September 17, 2010 at 7:01 am

      If you read through Nourishing Traditions it talks a lot about using whey. Since I make my own cheese I always have an abundance of whey. We feed some to the dog, but most of it gets frozen and used when soaking grains or in soups for added nutrition.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Kaytee on September 16, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I made this…last week maybe…but I didn’t get a chance to taste it. It looked great, so I’m excited about it. I’m thinking I might make another batch (since I only made a half batch last time).

    A must in my pantry is jam and applesauce. We eat A LOT of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and homemade jam is so much better than store bought. Homemade applesauce is so much better too. We went through a dozen quarts last winter in NO time, so I’m thinking 2 dozen is necessary this year, or maybe three…

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  14. Scarlett O'Homestead on September 17, 2010 at 8:06 am

    So glad to see another Victorio user! I can’t imagine canning without it. I love this recipe and will share. The other food you just can’t enough of is salsa. There is a million things to make with it. :-)

    Reply to Scarlett O’Homestead's comment

  15. heather jane on September 17, 2010 at 10:59 am

    What is your final yield for one batch? How many quarts do you usually get? Or did I miss that somewhere?

    Reply to heather jane's comment

    • Susy on September 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      For this batch I got 8 quarts of soup, sometimes it’s 9 sometimes 7, it depends on how juicy the tomatoes are, whether I’m using lots of roma’s or mostly juicing tomatoes.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. Jenn A on October 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I read your blog posting when FoodinJars linked it from facebook. The recipe looks delicious but I’m afraid you missed the boat on the canning disclaimer. This is about food safety, not comfort with preservation methods. That’s like saying you won’t wear a seatbelt because it’s not comfortable.

    1. The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that thickening agents such as flour should not be added to home-canned soups. If you wish to thicken your soup, it’s quite easy to do so – and do so safely – when you open the jar to eat it.

    2. Low-acid food items should always be canned in a pressure canner. Because of your high ratio of vegetables to tomatoes and lemon juice, your soup is a low-acid product. You could process this soup in a boiling-water bath canner for hours and it would still not be safe because the bacteria do not die until temps hit and remain at 240 for a certain period. BWB cannot go above just 212, far short of the critical point for safety.

    Reply to Jenn A's comment

    • Susy on October 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      I understand your point, some people are adamant about following the current guidelines for canning. Most people I know that can are not this way and neither am I. I know people that water bath green beans, and still steam can just like they always have. Personally I prefer finding old canning books so I can use the old guidelines instead of the new ones.

      I do believe it’s what you’re comfortable with, just like eating runny egg yolks, rare meat, and sushi and other “questionable” foods. I personally don’t believe the government agencies are out to protect us so much as protecting the corporations that donate large sums of money. That’s why the government will tell you that GMO’s are completely safe, CAFO meat, dairy and eggs, high fructose corn syrup, along with aspartame, and they allow fluoride and chemicals in our water.

      I’d eat this soup canned this way any day over Campbel’s made with GMO tomatoes, high fructose corn syrup, and other chemicals.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. […] dreaming of taking that ballsy step of purchasing a whole box of tomatoes at the famers market and canning my own tomato soup, and imagining that one day I could have the kitchen of Paule Caillat), the biggest turning point […]

    Reply to Cauliflower Risotto and Other Inspiration | The Market Blog's comment

  18. risa b on February 20, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Still one of my fave posts here… waiting for summer… waiting…

    Reply to risa b's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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