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.
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!