Hearty Winter Recipes

Homestead garden-friendly recipes based on home-canned tomato concentrate including tomato soup, clam chowder, winter minestrone, Swiss steak, beef stew, chili, and Italian sauce.

| November/December 1975

Tomatoes — being easy to grow and high in food value — are found in most homestead gardens . . . including ours. Our first year in the country we set out 48 plants and had all the fruit we could eat raw, with 8 bushels left over to can for the winter. Now, there's no trick to putting up tomatoes . . . but cooking with the product is something else again.

Garden-Friendly Hearty Winter Recipes

I pored through my cookbooks, only to find that all the recipes I wanted to try started out, "Take a can of tomato paste" (a substance which my home-canned fruit didn't resemble in any way). That spring, after a winter of watery chili and seeds in my teeth, I packed my gourmet cookbooks off to a rummage sale and went from farm to farm drinking coffee and copying recipes based on the facts of country life. Those superwomen in the woods gave freely of their knowledge on anything from hazelnuts to beekeeping . . . and one day, while she showed me how to cut up a chicken for freezing, a neighbor solved my tomato problem with the following formula:

Tomato Concentrate Recipe

7 quarts of tomatoes, cut in eighths
7 stalks of celery
4 onions
7 stalks of parsley
7 bay leaves
4 cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of salt
7 tablespoons of flour
7 tablespoons of soft butter

Combine the tomatoes, celery, onions, and parsley with the spices and boil until the vegetables are soft. Add the sugar and put the contents of the pan through a food mill. Then blend the salt, flour, and butter, stir the paste into the tomato mixture, bring the concentrate to a full boil, and can it in pint jars.

The uses of this concentrate are unlimited. You'll probably find plenty of your own . . . but here are some of ours to get you started:

Tomato Soup Recipe

1 pint of concentrate
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 pints of milk

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