Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kitchen Sink

An old farm saying was, "It's got everything in it but the kitchen sink."  Although it could refer to suitcases, purses, and drawers, it was often used for soups.

I typically can (1) most of my tomatoes into my version of V-8 vegetable juice.  It's really thick, has an array of vegetables and is run through the food mill to be more versatile.  This juice may be used in soups, beverages, casseroles, salad dressings, gravy, and more.
Since I don't have as many tomatoes as I wish, I'm canning larger amounts of vegetable soup mixes.  It gives quantity but is more limited because I don't put it through the food mill.  It has hunks of identifiable vegetables AND it has many different kinds.

Today, I cleaned, cored and peeled my red & yellow tomatoes.  I added onions, sweet peppers, sweet corn, sweet peas, cabbage, celery, sugar, salt and rosemary.  I season with the zest and juice of one lemon to add more acid. (2)   Vegetable soup typically has whatever fresh vegetables are in season both in my garden and at the farmers' markets.

This meatless vegetable mixture is good as a soup and in casseroles.  Cook a little meat and add bite size pieces for another variation.  Sometimes I do a meat vegetable soup, but, today I didn't want to take the prep or processing time.  I ended up with 9 pints which will make two smaller bowls of soup.  When canning, I mentally divide the end product into how many meals the batch will make.  In this case I will have 18 servings of soup out of 365 days in the year.  Ideally, the total of all my canning and freezing should be enough to have at least one meal a day for the entire year. 

Yes, I know it's that Pioneer Woman gene again. 

(1)  "Can" in this article refers to the process of water bath processing to preserve fresh produce.
(2)  Tomatoes typically contain enough acid to make the water bath method of canning the easy option.  Since I'm using fewer tomatoes, I needed to add acid in another form.  I use different vinegars or lemon according to how I want the end result to taste. 

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