My Kitchen Disaster!
Plus My Homemade Condensed Tomato Soup Recipe
This year was to be THE year. I planned ahead and never expected to be telling you all about my kitchen disaster! After years of using my Mom’s pressure canner, which was probably around 60 years old and heavy as the dickens, I finally broke down and purchased this new Presto pressure canner. I was so excited as over the past few years, the seal on the old one, no matter how many times I tried to retrofit it with a new one or lubricate it, seemed to be both hard to close and to open.
I can’t tell you the number of times I had to wait until the pressure canner was completely cooled down to open it, or enlist City Spouse to muscle it open. Anyone who cans knows that when it’s done, you want to inspect as soon as possible to make sure that seals are sealed properly and that there has been no explosion of jars in the pot. My old one just was not agreeing with me.
So yesterday, I got all my tomatoes and other ingredients together and made up a pot of tomato soup to can. I love having homemade tomato soup on hand for the winter months. CS loves paninis, and a good ham and cheese panini with some homemade tomato soup on a chilly winter day is nothing short of bliss.
I got everything together, and for the most part, it went well up until it was time to start the actual canning process. Apparently, the last batch of canning that was done (which CS ended up babysitting so I could go to bed) caused a gasket to somehow either expand too far, or it was not unassembled properly because my gasket under the pressure dial is CUT.
The horrible issue is that NO ONE in town sells a replacement for this. Not even a replacement dial so that I could just “borrow” the gasket from the new part. So I’m stuck. I have the soup all jarred up and in the refrigerator until I find a replacement today.
I didn’t bother taking the soup out of the jars, as I already know that I’m going to have to reheat it and refill jars before I can process it. I figure it’s safer somewhat sealed in the refrigerator since I have no idea when I’ll be able to reprocess it.
But if you ever have similar problems: you can reprocess later but if it is a hot-pack recipe (as is my soup) make sure that you reheat it and refill jars with hot soup and new lids before processing for the original amount of time in your recipe. Whether it partially sealed or not, you MUST process for the proper time so that it is safe for consumption and all the bacteria has been killed off in your pressure canner.
Moving on to my Condensed Tomato Soup recipe…
I love having condensed soup on hand, but if you look at the amount of sodium and other chemicals in soup these days, it’s frightening. So being able to KNOW that there are fresh, organic, homegrown ingredients in my soup gives me some piece of mind when I serve it.
Start with a large stainless steel or enamel pot. Add in 1 cup of diced celery.
Then add the diced red pepper.
Next, add 2 cups of diced onion.
(I used yellow because I had them on hand, but use whatever type of onion you like.)
Then add in your tomatoes.
They will just need to be cored and quartered. Don’t bother peeling them as they will be strained after you cook it.
Stir and bring to a gentle boil before adding in your seasoning. Continue to simmer until all the vegetables are very tender. I usually let mine simmer around 2 hours.
Stir as needed to keep from burning or scorching.
After the veggies are tender, press through your sieve or food mill (I have these attachments for my KitchenAid stand mixer to make my life easier) and put into a large stainless steel or enamel pot. Remove 1-2 cups of the liquid to cool completely before adding the Clear-Jel.
Make sure it is COMPLETELY cool. If not, the Clear-Jel will start cooking before you want it to. I place mine in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Start by dissolving 1/4 cup increments in the cooled liquid until it is all dissolved and smooth. Add back to the simmering pot of soup and cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Ladle into hot pint or half-pint jars. Wipe rims with a paper towel dampened with vinegar (to make sure to remove all Clear-Jel from seal) and process in a pressure canner 10 pounds of pressure for weighted gauge and 11 pounds for dial gauge, for 25 minutes for pints or half pints.
When you want to serve some tomato soup, just place the contents of the jar plus an equal amount of liquid (I’m partial to milk in mine) in a saucepan and heat through. Season as you like it and enjoy.
- 8 lbs ripe tomatoes, unpeeled, quartered
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley
- 6 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup Clear-Jel (cook type)
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons salt (not required and can salt when serving)
- Place tomatoes, celery, onion, red pepper in a large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil. Add parsley and bay leaves. Cook uncovered until tender, stirring as needed.
- Press through a food mill or sieve into a large stainless steel or enameled cast iron saucepan, add salt, if using, now.
- Mix Clear-Jel by adding it to a 1 cup of cooled tomato puree. (Make sure that the Clear Jel is fully incorporated in the liquid or the gel will clump instead of dissolving.) Bring soup back to a boil and stir in the diluted Clear-Jel. Continue to boil for two minutes till thick consistency.
- Ladle into pint jars and fill to 1” headspace. Add 1 T. bottled lemon juice to each pint and Wipe rims and add hot lids and rings.
- Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure for weighted gauge and 11 pounds for dial gauge, for 25 minutes for pints or half pints. Quart jars should NOT be used for this recipe.
- To serve, heat with equal amount of liquid such as milk, water or chickenbroth. Using the Clear-Jel will leave no taste in the soup.