Ok so it’s confession time. Everyone is asking me where I got ALL my tomatoes to can with and as much as I would like to brag about my over abundance of tomatoes I have to be honest and say… I bought them. Our tomatoes this year are doing terrible and I struggled with purchasing tomatoes because in my book the expense of having a garden plus having to buy more veggies on top sorta cancels any amount of money I would save! But… after much debate I just kept thinking it’s more about the quality of the food I am feeding my family. I don’t know about you but I’m all about quick and healthy meals. My goal this year was to get us eating as “raw” foods as possible so that goal to me was worth the extra expense of buying our own tomatoes to can vs. purchasing store-bought salsa, tomato juice/soup, pizza sauce, etc.
Now, I will say that I purchased my tomatoes from a farmer (wearing overalls) who has a produce stand at a near by intersection. When I went to write out the check it was made to George Williams. Ok, that wasn’t really his name but it was something like that. An old farmer name is what it was and I thought it was ohh so wonderful and worth EVERY penny!
So without further ado, here is the recipe I am the most excited about from this summer’s canning adventures. It’s something I can use as a quick soup, homemade Bloody Marys (to go with Leslie’s pickled green beans, in chili, on pasta, and anything else you can think of! It’s ohh so good and oh so worth the time (even if you can’t can it you can still cook it for dinner)!
Canned Tomato Soup & More
Yield: 6 Quartz
15 cored, peeled and chopped ripe tomatoes
3 cups of chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped red bell peppers
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoon pepper (or more if you like it spicy!)
1 teaspoon dried basil (or to taste)
2 bay leaves
STEP 1: Cook tomatoes down until “softer” (around 15 minutes) and puree through a blender.
STEP 2: Combine all of the other veggies and add enough water to cover.
STEP 3: Cook veggies until tender (20-30 minutes) and then drain water.
STEP 4: Puree the soft veggies in the blender.
STEP 5: Start heating the water bath (my canner takes 30+ minutes to boil).
STEP 6: Combine both the tomato and veggie puree in a large pot adding all other ingredients.
STEP 7: Bring to a boil (15 minutes) and simmer and cook slowly until thick (I just waited about 15 minutes and called it good!).
STEP 8: Heat empty jars in the hot water bath for 2-3 minutes.
STEP 9: Place jar lids only in hot water (I use a sauce pan on the stove).
STEP 10: Remove bay leaves from the tomato juice.
STEP 11: Remove empty jars one at at time from the water bath. Ladle hot tomato juice into hot clean jars, leaving 1/2 in. head space. Place lids on jars and a wet rag to seal with rings.
STEP 12: Once all the jars are filled place them in the water bath for 20 minutes.
STEP 13: Let stand for 6-8 hours until the middle part of the lid sucks in and does not “click” when you push it. This can take some time so if you don’t hear the cans seal right away do not worry! If the middle button does not seal down then your cans did not seal properly. Store any can lids that remain un-sealed in the refrigerator OR you can open them up, clean the top off (in case there is extra sauce or something preventing it from sealing) and put them through the hot bath again.
** This recipe specifically said DO NOT USE a water bath canner. Instead I was suppose to use a pressure canner. I did a lot of research on this and found a great article that helped break it down for me. Ultimately it is up to you but I ran it across my expert canner (Grandma) who has never had a problem with canning tomatoes in her water bath canner. As long as the jars seal you should be fine BUT… I’m letting you know this so that you don’t sue me later down the road! Take it as you wish, can at your own risk!
Kick your soup up a notch by adding these yummy (not necessarily healthy) ingredients while heating up your soup later down the road:
1 1/2 C whipping cream
3/4 C butter
2 C. chicken broth
I also spent the day canning the same salsa recipe from last year (which is terrific). The other great thing I found from having Grandma over is that she always wants to stick around and help with cleanup! Crazy, I know!
And that is it for our summer canning 2011 series. I’ve enjoyed sharing these with you and getting time with old family/friends along the way.
Until next summer (or at least until you reap the fruits of your labor and open up one of these bad boys in the cold winter and think… “Muwhaaaa, I am so glad I took the time to do this”)!
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