The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Canning Tomato Soup

I'm looking to the ways of the ant, preparing my food while it's summer.  Even though it's not even hot enough for air conditioning (it's August 2 as I type this!), it's too hot for soup.  Soup, especially tomato soup, is a wonderful cold day meal.  It's particularly awesome paired with a grilled cheese sandwich.  :)

Okay, before I get into my story, you know the drill here.  First a story; or rather, an incident (I laugh about it now), then the recipe is at the end.

Look at all these wonderful varieties of tomato sitting on my kitchen countertop!  I am not going to be able to process them later for long-term storage, so my plan was to process them now.  If I left these tomatoes to my guys, the tomatoes would probably be ignored and go all moldy and get thrown out.  Ugh, especially since they're from my garden.

So after lunch a few days ago, Joseph and Thomas cleaned my kitchen, and then it was ready for me!  See the picture below--my canning pot is already on the stove, and the pot of already-processed tomatoes is, too.

Ahhh.  A clean quiet kitchen in which to work.  I have an awesome kitchen.  :)

I simmered all the ingredients on the stove in my tall Emeril eight-quart stockpot.  I love this pot!

Now I get to my incident story.  I started blending the soup with my Braun stick blender, but I wasn't getting the smooth soup consistency I wanted, so I figured I'd use my super-powerful Bosch blender.  Not a problem!  I filled the blender, put it on the base, put the lid on, and turned it on.

You may not see it so well in the image above, but there are tomato soup splatters all over the ceiling.  I'm not in the picture either, so you definitely don't see the tomato soup facial I gave myself.  Yes, the blender lid was on.  But my blender lid has a little insert that allows me to pour a thin stream of ___ into the blender while it's going.  And the soup was thin enough to shoot out of that little hole and do its damage in my kitchen and on me.  Lesson learned--for the second batch of soup pureeing, I put a washcloth over the opening before I turned the blender on.  Plus, I didn't fill it all the way to leave a little extra room.

I have yet to clean my cabinets thoroughly.  ;)

The lesson for today is--no tomato soup facials!  Seriously, just be careful when processing the soup; it's really, really hot.

The recipe.  My original recipe calls for chicken bouillon, and since I was leery about the chicken part with the water bath canning method, I simply used an equal amount of water and left out the bouillon paste (I use Better Than Bouillon).  When I reheat the soup, I'll add the bouillon at that point.

You may also use this recipe for dinner any time!  Just use chicken broth instead of water (or add bouillon to the water).  You can also use canned diced tomatoes from the store; it's very good that way, too.  Here's the recipe...

Home-Canned Tomato Soup

about 4 pints crushed/diced tomatoes (or, two pints home-grown and two store-bought cans)
1 cup water
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped/sliced
2-3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I use home-grown cayenne pepper flakes; can omit or reduce to taste)
pepper to taste (I use fresh--crank the pepper mill 3-4 times)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

For the canning process:
lemon juice -- measure out about 6-8 tablespoons into a pourable cup or a bowl

Start with your garden tomatoes, then you can adjust the recipe accordingly.  Core the tomatoes, then plunge then into boiling water for one minute.  Then, dump them into a bowl of ice water (or at least very cold).  Peel off the skins and put them in some sort of a measuring bowl or cup, squishing them as you do so (that fills up the space to help you measure the amount better).  I have an eight-quart pot with half-quart (and liter!) markings along the inside, so it's easy to tell how much I'm working with.  A Pampered Chef eight-cup measuring bowl works great, too.

Note:  For today's recipe, I used half garden tomatoes, and half organic store-bought diced tomatoes.  I think I did about 4 quarts garden, plus 6 cans diced.  This almost doubles the recipe (I should've used 8 cans diced), so I adjusted all the other ingredients in the recipe accordingly.

Adjust all remaining ingredients for the amount of tomatoes you have, or simply process tomatoes until you get to the four-pint mark (that's eight cups), then continue with the recipe amounts as written above.  Put all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then simmer 20-30 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.

Let cool slightly and process in batches in your blender to your desired consistency.  Careful because it is hot!!  Return all the pureed soup back into the pot, and return to boil then simmer (don't forget to stir so it doesn't burn, and so it stays blended well (it will separate and be thicker at the bottom).  Meanwhile, prepare canning pot, jars, seals and lids.

When your canning water is boiling and you're ready to can:

To one pint jar, add one tablespoon of lemon juice.  Then fill jar with soup, leaving 1/2" headspace.  Wipe rim, center lid on jar, screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner; bring water to a boil again, replace canning pot lid, and time for 35 minutes.  Check every now and again to ensure jars are always covered with water (if the water level is too low, add boiling water to cover).

At end of processing time, turn off burner, remove lid, and wait five minutes.  Remove jars to a cooling rack; let cool 24 hours.  Check seals to make sure they're sealed; gently clean off jars (I remove the rings), label them, and store them in a cool, dry place.

When preparing the canned soup, simply reheat one pint in a small saucepan.
Add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon for flavoring.

Another note, since you can see it in the image below:  Separation is natural!  You can see the watery part separating from the thicker tomato-ey part, and that's completely natural, since I don't have the chemicals to keep it emulsified.  Just go to the store, pick up a can of Campbell's and read the ingredients.  You'll love your homemade and you'll never go back.

Back to life,

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