Fresh homemade tomato soup made from hydroponic tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, and herbs. One of my favorite childhood memories in frigid upstate NY is hot bowls of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on a cold winter day.
Thank heavens for greenhouses and hydroponic farmers, without them fresh local tomatoes in the winter would be nearly impossible to find. Of course you can buy tomatoes at the grocery store but they always cost more; especially organic,and they lack flavor. Local is always the way to go, if possible.
As for grilled cheese, I’ve been experimenting with different shreddable cashew cheeses like this one, not exactly what I’m looking for. I then tried a shreddable zucchini cheese. I’d still like to put a spin on it and come up with something maybe in-between. I’ll surely put it on here if I make any major breakthroughs.
Back to the soup, this tomato soup takes about 3 hours, but is mainly left to cook by itself with minimum intervention.
The first step is to add your tomatoes and water to a pot; 2 cups of water to 20 tomatoes. Cover the pot with a lid and let it come to a boil. Once it starts to boil and steam the tomatoes on top, turn it down to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes I mash all the tomatoes and let it simmer for 1 hour without the lid.
Next I’ll add in my flavorings like celery, or celeriac, onion, garlic, and any herbs you prefer. This time I used fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme. I add in the basil towards the end or just as a garnish because it’s oils and flavors are volatile.
I also like to add red bell peppers when they are in season, unfortunately they don’t grow hydroponic or greenhouse peppers.
Keeping with the seasons, this week I’ll be experimenting with a tomato pumpkin soup inspired by my favorite pumpkin salsa. I didn’t know how beautifully pumpkin and tomatoes got along!
After about an hour of simmering, the herbs should have fallen off the stems which you can then remove. If most of the excess water is evaporated then it’s about done, if not keep simmering without the lid on to allow the excess water to evaporate.
After about 3 hours, let the soup cool down a bit so you can blend it smooth. Or you can leave it chunky, it’s like a whole different soup when not blended, but equally as delicious.
After it’s blended I put it right in a mason jar with a metal lid and band for storage, and once it’s cooled all the way it can go into the fridge where it’ll last up to three months if kept sealed. After it’s been opened, use it within the week.
- 20 small tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup parsley; fresh
- 1 sprig rosemary; fresh
- a few sprigs thyme; fresh
- 1 cup basil; fresh
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1/4 tsp black peppercorn
- Add tomatoes, water, and salt to pot, bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- Take the lid off, mash the tomatoes and let simmer for 1 hour.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, except the basil, and continue to simmer for another hour.
- After 3 hours, or Once all the excess water evaporates, turn the heat off and let cool.
- Cool enough to blend, or keep it chunky.
- Once the soup is your preferred texture, put the soup in a mason jar and seal with a metal lid and band.
- Let the soup cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Add the basil after the soup has cooled, either blend it with the soup, or add it as garnish.
- Use 1 tbsp each for dried herbs.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 months left unopened.
- Once opened eat within the week.