Having a stash of homemade tomato soup concentrate in your pantry is like doing a favor for your future self. Portioning it out in 26 ounce jars from Fillmore Container makes it look extra snazzy!
My tomato preservation approach is one that is forever evolving. I make a point of trying at least one new-to-me tomato recipe to each season, always hoping that I’ll discover something particularly delicious and worthy of my time, resources, and shelf space.
This year, there were two experimental recipes. The first was this barbecue sauce (which is quite delicious, but probably won’t be something I make every single year). The second is the tomato soup concentrate that I’m sharing today. I’m already hoping that when I get home from the trip I’m currently on (I’ve been away for a week, which accounts for the blog silence), I’ll be able to get enough tomatoes to make another batch.
Recipes for tomato soup concentrates that are safe for the boiling water bath canner aren’t always easy to find. I did a lot of reading and worked out more math problems than is typically required for a basic canning recipe in order to bring this to you today. I built my recipe upon the framework laid out in the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s water bath safe Tomato and Vegetable Juice recipe.
The thing in that recipe that made everyone here possible is the fact that it specifies that, “Not more than 3 cups of other vegetables may be added for each 22 pounds of tomatoes.” Taking my cue from there, I used 15 pounds of tomatoes, and a scant two cups of diced onions. I felt comfortable doing that, because I was keeping to their approach while reducing the batch size by one-third.
From there, it was a matter of chopping the tomatoes and cooking them down with the onion. Once they were soft, I pushed them through a food mill fitted with its finest screen. At that point, I had approximately 24 cups of flavorful tomato juice.
I added Italian seasoning and granulated garlic, and cooked it down until I had a thick, tasty 16 cups. Once I was finished cooking, I added salt to taste (it’s always best to wait until you’ve finished cooking something down before salting it. Otherwise, you can end up with something inedible).
Then I portioned 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid into five square sided 26 ounce jars from Fillmore Container and filled them up with my soup concentrate. I added five minutes to the processing time required by the NCHFP for the tomato and vegetable juice, to compensate for the increased thickness.
I love canning tomato products in these square sided jars because they give it a more professional look, and I find that the squared off sides make them easier to grab when I’m moving quickly. The 26 ounce size is also great from a portioning perspective. Reheated with a bit of milk, there’s just the right amount for two people to enjoy bigs bowls with a side of cheesy toast or garlic bread.
Oh, and if you find yourself liking the looks of the square shape, know that they’re also available in 8 ounce and 16 ounce sizes.
Disclosure: Fillmore Container is a Food in Jars sponsor. Their sponsorship helps keep the site afloat. They provided the jars you see here at no cost to me. All opinions expressed are entirely mine.
Tomato Soup Concentrate
- 15 pounds of tomatoes
- 2 cups diced onion
- 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt plus more to taste
- 2 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
- Wash the tomatoes and cut them into quarters. Heap the chopped tomatoes into a large pot and add the diced onion.
- Add about a cup of water to the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.
- Cook, stirring occasionally for about an hour, until the tomatoes have lost their structural integrity and the pot contains nothing but super saucy tomatoes.
- Remove the pot from the stove. Fit a food mill with its finest screen and position it over a large heatproof bowl.
- Working in batches, start pushing the cooked tomatoes and onions through the food mill. You will probably need to stop three or four times to empty out the bowl into a clean pot.
- Once all the tomatoes are milled, add the granulated garlic and Italian seasoning. Set the pot on the stove and bring to a low boil.
- Cook for one to three hours, until the soup concentrate has reduced by at 1/3 and hopefully a bit more.
- When you're pleased with the consistency, stir in the salt. Start with a tablespoon. Taste and add more as needed.
- Divide the citric acid between five jars 26 ounce jars (the Ball brand 24 ounce Pint & Half jars are also a great choice for this one).
- Funnel the finished soup concentrate into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 45 minutes (if you live above 1,000 feet in elevation, please adjust your processing times accordingly).
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortable handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
I love having blueberry jam in the winter made from fresh summer berries.
I love having tomato sauce on hand, that and tomato jam – i can’t keep up with my husbands consumption of tomato jam.
I can’t wait to try this, what a great way to save precious pantry space!
I am just learning how to do all this, I love every minute of it. Thank you for the great give away
I LOVE Fillmore for my containers and lids. I own a candle company and I hand make/pour all my products. My favorite are the 9oz jars with the Lug70 lids! ♡
Hmm. Probably pluot jam!
I’m addicted to canning and these jars would work great for my spaghetti sauce, chilli sauce and so many other things …. keeping my fingers crossed 🙂 I’m disabled and on SSD so I have to watch every penny – this would be so great to win these 🙂
Come January, I love either Peach Preserves or Plum Rum Jam.
Can’t live without Plum Jam with Star Anise. I’m now the nuisance neighbor who is pestering the neighbors with plum trees!
I always have Blueberry jam!
I love being able to open a jar of apricot jam in winter, it totally brings back the taste of summer.
My favorite home canned item is my homemade tomato sauce – with tomatoes from my garden, as well as my homegrown onions sweet peppers, 4 kinds of garlic, and a wide variety of herbs that I use and my chickens enjoy too!
I love to have Wineberry jam from my own hand picked Wineberries.
It’s a toss up between jam and tomato sauce. Both are tastes of summer long gone…….
Looks yummy and lovely! I love tomatoes, and these cans would be perfect for sauces and salsa!
I love cherry preserves on fresh baked bread for breakfast on cold January mornings BUT this tomato soup recipe would make for a fabulous dinner in the evening 🙂
I love being able to grab blueberry jam from my pantry during winter, but I always run out too quickly.
Pickled okra. The crunch just makes me happy.
wow! I love tomato soup! It great on a old night with a grilled cheese. Or when you need a hug me food also.. Beautiful jars too.
I love this recipe…tried it this morning and got five qts. after my husband and I ate a bowl or in his case Two….I thought about getting out some jars of tomatoes canned and doing this too..already has the salt in them but think it might work good…delicious soup
Strawberry preserves. I love all kinds of preserves.
Awesome assortment of canning stuff at Filmore for black raspberry jam.
Loving having rhubarb chutney come January!
I love having Blackberry jelly during the winter months. But this year I also canned a lot of stewed tomatoes so I can’t wait to have those over rice in January.
I love canning homemade pasta sauce
Apple pie filling makes holiday pie making so much easier.
Homemade tomato sauce
It’s the best
This may be a silly question, BUT, to make the soup – how much milk do you add?
It’s really something I advise you do to taste. Start with a 1/2 cup and then add more as needed.
Does keeping the skin on the tomatoes affect the safety? (I’m lazy and have no room for a food mill) I add a little sugar to counteract the slightly bitter skin when I freeze my roasted tomato soup recipe, but I’d love to can this instead. My freezer is teensy!
Tomato skins don’t impact safety. They just can impart a slightly bitter flavor. However, if you’re up for adding a little bit of sugar to counteract that (as you’ve said), then there’s no reason not to leave them on.
If I wanted to can this in quart jars (it’s what I have already), how would I change the citric acid amounts? Just want to make sure I do this safely
Use a heaping 1/2 teaspoon.
Question on the tomato soup concentrate – when you use it, how much water do you add? Or do you use it the way it is canned? Thanks!
I add about a cup to a cup and a half of milk or water to thin it out before serving.
I made three batches of this last week and working on more this week (the tomatoes just keep coming and coming from my garden). I am so excited about this recipe and I think this will be one of my new favorite things to can. Thank you for figuring out the math for us!
This sounds wonderful. I’d like to do it with my own tomatoes, though, and doubt I’ll get more than 8 pounds at a time. I’d like to half the recipe and put it up in pint jars. I found a comment on this post from last year that said it could be done in pints with a 5 minute shorter processing time, but I’m not quite sure how to adjust the citric acid. Should it be 1/4 tsp per pint jar?
You’re right on the money with your adjustments. 1/4 teaspoon citric acid and 40 minutes in the canner for pints.
I can’t wait to try this with my homegrown tomatoes!
Hi, Marissa. Could you provide an estimated weight of citric acid in your 1/2 tsp (or even the 2.5 tsp recipe total? Depending on how finely milled the citric acid is, a person could have fairly different weights in the same volume. And considering how critical this is to the safety of the product, I don’t want to under-acidify my tomato soup concentrate. Thanks!
Citric acid measurements are always given in volume. This is standard across all canning recipes. In my experience, all citric acid is pretty much the same. If you’re concerned, use a bit more.
I would like to try the Tomatoe Juice concentrate recipe, but could I use fresh garlic finely chopped? I haven’t found granulated garlic here…only garlic powder. Thanks!
It would be better to use the garlic powder rather than fresh, as the dried product doesn’t impact the acidity in the same way.
I appreciate finding this; I was intrigued by the tomato soup recipe in Not Your Mama’s Canning book but the proportions of onion, carrot, and celery seem too high for the amount of tomatoes used. I’ll feel mjiore comfortable using your recipe.
I’m a bit confused. Is this ready to eat soup, or is it to be mixed with some other liquid to create soup? It’s called “concentrate” so I assume the latter. Please clarify. Thanks much.
If you read the narrative of the post, I mention that I reheat it with some milk before serving, much in the same way one would treat a canned tomato soup concentrate from the grocery store. I don’t give an amount of milk because everyone’s batch of concentrate is going to be a bit different. It’s up to you to dilute as you deem necessary.
I wish my great aunt Maudie were still here to share this one with her. She canned more tomatoes being a single person than anyone else I ever knew. She mostly did tomato juice and then tomatoes for vegetable soup and I have to say, she made excellent vegetable soup. Both of my parents always worked full time my entire childhood and there were many evenings not long after we all arrived home the phone would ring (this is LONG before the days of cell phones) saying she had a kettle of vegetable soup, a meatloaf, a kettle of green beans, ham and potatoes or a few other things ready for us and one of us would pop out to her house. She lived only about a 1/2 mile away. While she had her electric stove and oven in the kitchen the old farmhouse still had the woodfired stove and oven. While I don’t believe she used the oven any longer she did use the stove in winter. There was a flavor which no other method of cooking imparts which just makes anything extra delicious. She would have LOVED something like this. She lived mostly on the homecanned produce she put away up until her 80s and chickens and eggs she raised and until the last few years, even a few beef cattle. All being a single farm woman on a 60 acre farm. Living until 95 I think it was eating her own produce which contributed to this, very few of those chemicals in everything from the store. She even used very little chemical treatment on her farm. She also used to make the best Bread & Butter pickles. This was long before they ever appeared in the supermarkets in commercial production. I think it was the 80s before that happened. There is a lot to be said for putting away your own food.
Can I can this in 32oz jars? I have those on hand. What would be the processing time and would you recommend upping the citric acid per jar?
How do you serve this? It is a concentrate, do I add milk or water to it? How much?
I use it as a concentrate and thin it with some milk upon heating. Because everyone’s batch is a little different, it’s hard for me to call for an exact amount. It’s something you need to do to your own taste.
Can I cut this recipe in half? There is just me and so I don’t want to make a ton of soup concentrate. Also can I make it in smaller jars such as half pints or pints? And if so what would the processing time be? Still the same?
You can cut the recipe in half, as long as you keep the relationship of ingredients the same. You can use pint jars. Keep the processing time the same and use 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid.
Instead of a food mill can I just use my vitamin and zap it up…I like using all the tomato,skins ect
It’s not going to have the same texture.
When you are ready to use this soup do you add milk?
Yes, I thin it with a little milk.
Could I half this recipe if I don’t have quite enough tomatoes and still be successfuL?
Yes. Just keep all the ingredients in their proper proportion.
Excellent recipe! I used fresh basil instead of dried italian seasoning, but the rest was entirely you. So, so thankful for this site! I have spread your site and amazing cookbooks to so many friends new to canning. I often tell them, you have brought canning into the present decade. These recipes do not taste like grandma’s boring canning recipes. So thankful!
Thank you so much for the kind words! I so appreciate you sharing the site and my cookbook with your friends!
Does it matter how meaty/juicy/seedy the tomatoes you choose are or as long as you start with 15 lbs, the 2 cups of diced onion will be ok? Thanks!
It should still be okay as long as you start with 15 pounds. I can’t imagine that you lose that much volume with the juiciness.
This recipe looks wonderful! Is there anything else that could be used instead of citric acid though, such as maybe lemon juice? And would it be a one for one exchange? Thanks!
You can always swap bottled lemon juice for citric acid. The exchange is in this post. https://foodinjars.com/blog/canning-101-how-to-swap-citric-acid-for-lemon-juice-and-vice-versa/
Could this be adapted to use in an Instant Pot? If so, what would you suggest?
You could use an Instant Pot to cook the tomatoes down. But I have no idea how much time would be necessary. And you’d probably need to do them in a couple batches.
My favorite recipe to deal with all the tomatoes from my garden:). Thank you!
Soon I’ll have tomatoes piling in from the garden and this soup recipe looks like a perfect solution! Do I see that to serve, it’s just a matter of reheating some of the concentrate w a bit of milk or cream??
Yep, just reheat with a little water or milk. The amount really depends on how much you cook down the concentrate.
May I pressure can this concentrated tomato soup recipe instead of water bath? Thank You
Sure. I’d go and consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation for pressure canning times for tomato puree.
I’ve not canned with citric acid yet. Food In Jars recipes use lemon juice to get the tomato acid up. When you suggested using smaller Ball jars for tomato soup, you did not say to reduce the amount of citric acid in each jar. What if the jars are way smaller than 26 ounces, like one-pint jars?
I”m making tomato jam now and look forward to trying tomato soup next.
I would use the same amount of citric acid for the pint jars, just to be safe.
If I used pint jars, how much citric acid per jar? Or, should I just mix it into the batch right before I get it into jars?
I would still use 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per jar, even for the pints. It doesn’t impact the finished flavor much and the safety boost it provides is invaluable.
Nice blend of ingredients make for a very tasty soup that we will enjoy this coming winter. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I am wondering how you heat up the soup and then add milk? Do you add milk after soup has cooled down a bit so that it doesn’t curdle? Or do you add a little baking soda to the tomato soup before putting milk into the soup?
I just heat it gently and put a little milk in once I take the pot off the heat so that it doesn’t curdle. I’ve never heard of putting baking soda in to prevent curdling.
I am looking forward to trying this recipe for tomato soup concentrate. My question is …… instead of the citric acid, can lemon juice be used instead.I am guessing 1-3 tsp per pint ( pint for my house ) I would imagine the flavor of the soup might change a little bit. And I am ok with that. I am not sure of the reasoning for the citric acid except to up the acidity for water bath canning ?
You can use bottled lemon juice in place of the citric acid. You are right to assume that it in included in the recipe because it is boosting the acid content in the concentrate. Two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice will give you the same acidification as 1/2 teaspoon citric acid.
Can this recipe be made using onion powder instead of the diced onions?
Yes. Most bottles tell you how much powder equals fresh.