…make soup.

Both last week and this week at our little local farmer’s market, the county extension was offering pecks of “seconds” of tomatoes for $5. I bought some last week and from part of them, made a fresh tomato sauce in the slow cooker. Today I couldn’t resist getting another peck, this time not very ripe so that I don’t have to deal with them until next week. But I still had tomatoes that needed to be used. So I went to my fallback recipe…Olga’s Mother’s Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup.

This recipe comes from a book I picked up on sale years and years ago, The Budget Gourmet, by Sylvia Vaughn Thompson and it’s perfect for the time of year when tomatoes glut either the market or your garden. If your neighbors hide in the house when they see you coming with another bag of ripe tomatoes, don’t despair! You can have soup all winter that tastes as though you just picked the tomatoes from your garden.

The trick here is to make only the soup base and then freeze it (or can it, if you like). Any time during the winter, you can thaw a bottle, then make the rest of the soup for a summer-fresh flavor. I tried this some years ago and found it to be highly successful. Just be sure that if you freeze in jars, as I do, that you don’t fill them too high and remember to leave the top off until the base is frozen. My next experiment will be trying a vegan version of this. We’ll see how that goes.

Olga’s Mother’s Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup


7 good-sized ripe fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 medium onion, chopped

The rest of the ingredients:

1/4 c. margarine
1/4 c. unbleached unsifted flour
2 c. low-fat milk
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt, or to taste
Dash of white pepper (White won’t show up.)
Croutons, optional

The directions:

1.  In a medium-sized pot over low heat, covered, stew the tomatoes, lemon juice and onion 15-20 min.

2.  At the same time, make a bechamel sauce by melting the margarine in a small pot, stirring in the flour over low heat, then whisking in the milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. When thickened, whisk another minute or two, then set over lowest heat.

3.  Puree tomatoes through the fine blade of a food mill or a coarse strainer into a bowl.

4.  Whisk the sauce into the tomatoes–the soup won’t curdle this way. Return to the larger pot and gently reheat. Serve with croutons, if you like.

(To make the base only, do steps 1, then 3.  Let the juice cool a bit,  put it in a containers and freeze.  What you’re ready to make the soup, thaw the base, put it in a pot and heat it, then keep it warm until your bechamel sauce is ready.  Proceed with step 4 and enj0y.  If you make multiple batches at once, each container should have 2 – 2 1/2 c. of juice.)

The rest of last week’s tomatoes…


Next week’s tomatoes, which may become sauce of some sort, ketchup or more tomato soup base…


What’s left after putting the cooked tomatoes through the food mill…


Soup base for three batches of delicious soup…



  1. billgncs says:

    blessed be the lowly tomato
    in soup so grandly exceeds potato
    having tasted fresh never will I stoop
    settling for store bought tomato soup

  2. or gazpacho or a bloody mary, can’t wait to see the pumpkins.

    • Unfortunately, the vine withered after all that, so no pumpkins. :-(. Hopefully the sweet potato plants will do well, but it was fun having the squash blossoms.

  3. […] eaten the tomatoes sliced and there are still tomatoes on the vine. (Here’s the soup recipe, which I posted last year).  As far as I’m concerned, he can come over and plant any time!  […]