I made this soup two weeks ago. Over the course of that week, I processed 75 pounds of tomatoes: 50 lbs of which were for stewed tomatoes and the rest were for this soup. Somehow I forgot that for the soup I didn’t need to peel the tomatoes first. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I realized I could have skipped that step.
This recipe requires a pressure canner. If you don’t pressure can, use last year’s tomato soup recipe and your water bath canner. It was amaaaaazing. The flavours are very similar. I just added some garlic this year because I had it on hand.
Approx 25 lbs ripe tomatoes (half-bushel)
3 cups celery, diced
6 cups onion, diced
3 cups fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups ClearJel - no substitutes
Fresh garlic, 4 or 5 cloves, diced (optional)
Bay leaves (optional)
18 or so pint (500 ml) Mason jars with rings and snap lids
1/2 teaspoon citric acid PER JAR
1/2 teaspoon sugar PER JAR (optional)
Directions for canning:
Wash your jars in hot soapy water and rinse well.
Wash your tomatoes well; chop them in quarters and throw the cores into your compost bucket. (Or peel them first if you have lots of spare time like me, apparently…)
Place tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves and parsley in a large pot.
Cook gently, until very tender, stirring as needed.
Once it is well cooked, press through a food strainer or sieve, making sure you’re getting all the liquid. (Because I had already removed the tomato skins, I had less veggie matter left than I would otherwise have. I saved it and used it to make vegetable broth. I am thrifty!).
Return all the liquid to the large pot and turn heat to medium. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of ClearJel while the soup heats.
Heat to a boil, continuing to stir or whisk until the soup thickens. [Pro tip: Don’t follow the ClearJel instructions and wait for the soup to boil before adding the ClearJel. I did, and it clumped like crazy. I had to use my immersion blender to set it to rights.]
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place 1/2 teaspoon citric acid in each jar. Add equivalent amount of sugar if you are concerned about tartness.
Put the snap lids in hot water for a couple of minutes to soften. It doesn't have to be boiling.
Ladle hot, thickened soup into pint jars, leaving about 1 inch headspace.
As usual, "bubble" each jar with a skewer or chopstick to release any trapped air. Wipe each rim with a clean damp paper towel. Place a heated snap lid down and screw the ring on fingertip tight.
Add hot water to your pressure canner. Mine requires 3 quarts; check your instructions to be sure for yours. Load up the canner and close it, following manufacturer instructions. Here’s the best thing – with my pressure canner, I can stack jars. I could fit all 18 jars in a single canner load. Beauty, eh?
At sea level, and Great Lakes level, process pints or half-prints for 25 minutes at 11 pounds pressure.
This soup is much thicker than last year’s version, but not gloppy like Campbell’s condensed. When I heat and enjoy, I do add milk but not an equivalent amount to the soup. I also often cook up some noodles and throw them in, and sometimes grate some cheese on top. A full delicious meal, and oh my heavens, heavenly! Treat yo’self!