Garden-fresh tomato soup

With a bumper crop this fall from my tiny COVID garden of five tomato plants, I needed to find some tasty ways to put tomatoes to good use. I love soup, so I decided to make some.

My highest yielding plants were for heritage tomatoes. They were slower to ripen, so I took a whole lot of green tomatoes off them in October. I was surprised to see that by November they had all ripened to a lovely bright yellow, not a red one among them.

The flavor is similar to what I remember tomato soup as tasting, but decidedly different. However, the taste is fresh, tangy, and satisfying. Use whatever fresh tomatoes you have at your disposal. The flavorings in the last step of this recipe can be added in either as little or as much as you might like. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Fresh tomato soup
Makes about 8 cups

  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, coursely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coursely chopped
  • 6 cups fresh tomatoes, coursely chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Flavorings (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • a few shakes cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon homemade liquid stevia, coconut palm sugar, or white sugar
  1. In a stockpot, over medium heat, saute the garlic with chopped onion until limp, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the coursely chopped tomatoes, with skin and seeds, and bring to a sizzle. Allow them to cook until the tomatoes soften.
  3. Add chicken broth and cloves. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion hand-held blender. Strain into a bowl, using a large sieve. Use a spoon to force as much pulp through the strainer as you can. Discard the cloves and fiber left in the strainer.
  4. In the now empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a paste, cooking until the roux is a medium brown, at least 5 minutes.
  5. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato puree, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest.
  6. Season with vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and salt, and adjust to taste. Instead of salt and cayenne, I added a teaspoon of TexMex seasoning, which is basically salt and cayenne… Next time, I’ll try it without the vinegar. I found it a touch on the sour side. See what you think before going ahead with the vinegar. I did love the basil, though. And I enjoyed the nip from the TexMex.
  7. Serve very hot with some cream on the side for people to add if they choose. The nutrition count below is for the soup without any cream.

Nutrition

Studies show that tomatoes and tomato products may reduce your risk of heart disease and several cancers. This fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns. These effects are likely due to high concentrations of antioxidants, especially lycopene and beta carotene. But tomatoes also contain several useful vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.

A one-cup serving of this soup provides 100 calories; 4 grams protein, 7% RDV (recommended daily value); 4 grams carbohydrates, 1% RDV (just 1 gram sugar); 3 grams fat, 5% RDV; 81 mg sodium, 3% RDV; vitamin A 9% RDV; Ca 7% RDV.

As an aside: No pain, no gain

Just thought I’d point out that it may be easier to open a can of soup. But for pure personal satisfation, nothing beats growing your own food and making your own soup. For me, the only down side is the washing up!

But I’ve learned to enjoy the feel of warm water on my hands and the pleasure of seeing tidy work surfaces. I use the wait times between steps in the cooking process to wash utensils used to that point. There is far less to contend with at the end.

Now, I just have to put all these dishes away, and my kitchen will be spick and span again. Whistle while you work!

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