Here are two recipes to use up those tomatoes you are harvesting or being given. One is for canning to have this winter and the other is for a soup tonight. Both are using fresh basil from the garden too. To impress your guest, you can serve both of the soup recipes like you would a French onion soup by broiling it under the broiler with fresh mozzarella and French bread or croutons. It is outstanding.
Note: If you are canning tomatoes this year and still have left over cans from last year or frozen tomatoes from last year, use them up making this canned soup or juice.
You may wish to try both recipes to see which one you like the best. They can both be canned. They are both good.
1 bunch celery
8 quarts (32 cups) fresh tomatoes (or 5 to 6 quarts of juice)
1 cup sugar (or to your taste)
1/4 cup salt
1 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp. lemon juice per qt. (necessary if you are using heirlooms)
Chop the onions and celery. Place in large kettle with just enough water to keep them from burning. While this simmers, cut and core your tomatoes with skins on. Add to kettle and cook until tender. Cool mixture and put through sieve to deseed and deskin and turn to just tomato juice. Return to kettle.
Add sugar and salt. Cream butter and flour together and mix thoroughly with two cups of cold juice, until dissolved (or blend together in a blender), to avoid lumps of flour in the juice. Add butter/flour mixture to warm tomato juice and whisk in. (Add before it's hot, to avoid lumps of flour). Stir well. Heat just until hot (If it gets to a boil, it can make the flour lumpy).
Just prior to boiling, turn off the burner (It will continue to thicken as it cools). Ladle into jars and close securely with lids. Return to the canner and process 20 to 30 minutes (start timing when it's at a rolling boil). Remove from canner and allow jars to sit until sealed (approx. 12 hours). It should made 12.5 pints. I like to make in both individual size and family size.
To serve, mix equal parts tomato concentrate to milk or half and half and heat. Add fresh chopped basil (dried if it is not available). Taste for seasoning and season more if needed.
Fresh Tomato Basil Soup
3 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
3 tbs. tomato paste
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons sugar
Small handful fresh chopped basil leaves
Salt and black pepper
Sour cream or fresh mozzarella cheese
Core the tomatoes and put in boiling water for 20 seconds. Plunge into cold water and peel skins off. Squeeze the tomatoes to deseed. Rough chop the tomatoes and place them in a large saucepan, pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Process the soup with a blender or a food processor. Pour through a sieve to get rid of any seeds or chucks. Stir in the tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and basil. If the tomatoes are sweet enough, you may omit the sugar.
Put back on the stove to heat again. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Put your soup into oven safe bowls topped fresh mozzarella. Broil the mozzarella cheese until melted and bubbly. Top with your toast slice.
The fresh basil, thick soup, hot melted mozzarella, and garlic bread is a great meal in itself.
Have a great Grandparents Day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.