Our next adventure was when Audrey wanted to dehydrate some tomatoes! She cut them up and lightly salted them then put them on the racks... (since I've tried this before, I knew to suggest that she spray the racks with an oil to keep the dried tomatoes from sticking!) She set the heat to 140* and let them go!! She also sprinkled them with some basil for yummy flavoring!! This took maybe 8 hours since some of the pieces were of good size! After it was all said and done... they fit in a small freezer container! Yikes.... hard to imagine three racks of tomato pieces all fit in here... but they did!! And, I added some oil to it for storage.... not needed, but an experiment on our part! We'll use these in our favorite pesto chicken recipe! YUMMY!
Then on to making tomato soup!! I've never attempted anything but store bought canned tomato soup for some reason. I searched for a good recipe online and found one called "Mom's Best Tomato Soup Canning Recipe". I can't go wrong with that kind of a name, right?!
After reading some of the comments (a few times) I started.... Of course, if you know me at all, you know I almost NEVER make a recipe exactly as it is written. And, you won't be disappointed to know, the same holds true for this one! The recipe called for 6 onions, chopped... well, onions aren't always a favorite around here, so I opted for 1 VERY big Vidalia onion and instead of a whole bunch of celery, I cut up about 3/4 of a bunch! (Keep in mind... the goal is for flavor and a bunch depending on where you live will vary in size. And as for the onions, I think the author must use regular yellow onions which would be way to strong for my family.) I cooked this all down in a little bit of oil and then added the tomatoes and they cooked over low heat for a while! I used my immersion blender since I really didn't want to lose the onions and celery only the skins & seeds of the tomatoes. I added a few more cut up tomatoes, allowed it to simmer and then used my Foley food mill to rid the pot of seeds & skins!! It worked like a charm!!
Here's where the next change comes... I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of a full cup and I did NOT add the flour/butter (rue) to thicken the soup. Instead, I decided to wait as some of the comments suggested, for when I actually heat the soup up to eat! A few of the comments were similar in saying:
"If you're following current USDA/NCHFP (US National Center for Home Food Preservation) recommendations for shelf-stable food storage safety (updated in 2009), they no longer recommend canning things with flour as a thickener. Likewise, butter and dairy products."
The remedy is to use a pressure canner for 30 minutes at 10 pounds for pints... that would have worked fine for me too, but being in a time crunch, I opted to use the water bath method and thicken later! 14 pints of tomato soup all ready for the shelf! I can't wait to try it! Next year... I just may try it with the thickener in!
Next up, diced and canned tomatoes... 10 pints! They're awesome to add to soups, chili and to beef up the spaghetti sauce!! The tomatoes are still turning red out in the garden! I'll probably do up some more of the diced tomatoes when there are enough ripened.
Shared on Simple Lives Thursday!
Go look for other awesome ideas!