Homemade Tomato Soup

I don’t know what I was thinking when I planted 18 tomato plants this year, most of them from seeds that I grew myself. I guess I was thinking how nice it would be to finally have enough tomatoes. Boy, did I ever.

After filling the freezer with spaghetti sauce–uh, in freezer boxes, not just poured in there–I needed to find another way to deal with the glut of tomatoes. Thanks to the joy of blogging, I got the idea of making my own homemade tomato soup by reading Annie’s Granny’s blog. She had even more tomatoes than I did.

I read a few recipes, and then came up with my own version. I’m calling it Bloody Mary Soup. I suppose I should call it Virgin Bloody Mary Soup because I’m not putting vodka in it. Hmmm. But maybe I could.?.?.?

Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

4 quarts of tomatoes, stemmed and quartered

3 stalks of celery cut into thirds

3 bay leaves

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

Simmer tomatoes with celery and seasonings for one hour. Remove and discard the stalks of celery, bay leaves and stems of thyme. Put cooked tomatoes through a colander, chinois, or strainer to remove seeds and peels. Return tomato juice to the pot.

Add:

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1 T brown sugar

3 T lemon juice

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

Add these ingredients to the pot, stir, and simmer until juice is cooked down to the right consistency for tomato soup, about another hour. (The lemon juice is necessary to ensure that the soup is acidic enough for safe canning.)

While the juice is simmering down, prepare 6 pint jars by running them through the dishwasher. Bring the lids and rings to a boil in a pan of water on the stove. Bring water in your canning kettle to a boil. Place the hot, clean jars on a clean towel and ladle the soup into the jars, leaving a half-inch of head room. Seal with lids and rings. Place jars gently in the kettle of boiling water. There should be an inch of water over the top of the jars. Boil gently for 40 minutes. Lift jars out of the boiling waterbath and let them cool on a clean towel. Don’t retighten lids. The lids should pop down, indicating a good seal. Label the jars and store in a cupboard.

When you’re ready to reheat the soup to serve it, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes (for safety), then stir in 1/2 C of half and half.

For a variation, you can saute six sliced sorrel leaves in 1 T butter, then add the pint jar of tomato soup and heat as above. I suppose you also could try adding 2 T vodka to the soup after it’s been heated. After all, mushroom soup with sherry is terrific. Good luck!

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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10 Responses to Homemade Tomato Soup

  1. Thank you! I need to adapt this to use with some of my already processed tomato juice, which should be easy enough to do. It sounds like just what I wanted for a pot of fresh cream of tomato soup.

    I love this garden blogging community. Someone always comes through when you need them 🙂

    • Annie’s Granny, I’m glad that you’re able to adapt your canned tomato juice to the soup recipe. I love the blogging community too. It was actually from reading your blog about canning tomato juice that I got the idea for my soup. So synergistic.

  2. That’s what I love about tomatoes, there are so many dishes you can use them in. I love tomato soup. I’d be tempted, as we’re still drowning the stuff, to add significant quantities of basil to this. May have to try this next week, as the tomato plants really need to be pulled to make room for the garlic that we need to get planted!

  3. Angela Moll says:

    Tomato soup is a great idea, I’ll give it a try, sounds yummy.

    I did the opposite of you, I planted too few tomato plants this year and I am regretting it big time. Fewer plants and cooler temperatures means I’ll be able to preserve less that I was hoping.

  4. Daphne Gould says:

    Better too many tomatoes than too few. Since it is so close to a bloody mary you could go either way. Heat it up for soup, or drink it cold with vodka.

    • You know, Daphne, you’re right. Better too many tomatoes than too few. In planning out my garden for next year, I came up with 13 varieties that I want to plant. If I plant two each, that will give me 26 tomato plants, even more than this year. The Brandywines and Black Krims are so unproductive that I plan to plant four each of them. God help me.

  5. Barbara says:

    While reading through your recipe I was worried that you didn’t add any cream, then relieved that you add the half and half when reheating to serve! Sounds delicious. I didn’t get enough tomatoes this year to can soup, unfortunately, but plan to next year.

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