It’s a chilly rainy day and last night I took out some frozen Amish Paste tomatoes and woke up to this lovely sight. Tomatoes swimming in tomato water. I drained the water off, plucked the stems and put the whole bowl full into the Vita Mix blender skins and all.
One year I grew an absurd amount of heirloom tomatoes. I had 150 plants of many varieties. Come harvest season I was a complete wreck trying to figure out how to process SO many tomatoes. At the time I had a mid sized upright freezer. I did can many batches but I needed a faster plan. Being the type who likes a good experiment I decided to gamble on freezing the tomatoes and finding a simpler way to save the harvest. I never dreamed I would find THE simplest method of all. I popped them into zip bags straight from the vine, then into the freezer. Lo and behold, when they were defrosted they gave up a lot of liquid but held together very nicely and what was left was pure tomato flesh. I poured off the clear liquid and used the tomatoes right up without the bother of having to ‘cook off’ some of the liquid. Paydirt! Now this is the way I prefer to put my tomatoes by. It’s super easy and can’t be beat as a time saver when so many crops are calling for attention.
In a nice heavy stock pot add some olive oil and a mirepoix…kitchen speak for diced onion, celery and carrots. Cook until the onion is clear, not browned. Add the tomatoes and cook until gently boiling. Add a cup of milk into which you’ve dissolved a tablespoon of corn starch and continue cooking for another few minutes. You can add any number of spices. I usually end up going with whatever is on hand. Today that means salt & pepper (natch), fresh oregano and chives plucked from the kitchen garden and a pinch of ground fennel to sweeten things up. Use your imagination. It’s a super simple recipe that goes a long way toward warming you up on a damp cool spring day.
I decided to not puree the soup again but rather leave the mirepoix intact. With a salad or your favorite sandwich this is the perfect lunch. Enjoy!