Every year we’ve had a vegetable garden, There’s just nothing like home grown veggies. Not only do you know where the food came from, you can pick your veggies, and cook them the same day, so freshness can’t be beat, it’s fun to share with family and friends. Also knowing you can live off the land if you need to is a good feeling. As Glenn Beck say’s, in case of a disaster, natural or otherwise DO NOT GO TO THE STADIUM!! So maybe we’re doomsday preppers, but hey, what can it hurt to be prepared!
Tomatoes especially grow like weeds here in Southern CA. It’s very rewarding, but you’ll also find all kinds of critters will enjoy your tomatoes before you get the chance, so you’ve got to be willing to chase off birds, Then there are the squirrels, that’s not an easy enemy to fight. Gophers, even more difficult. By the end of the season however, weeds used to be our biggest problem. So a few years ago, I showed my husband Jack an article from Sunset Magazine of some raised bed gardens that seemed to make perfect sense. The article explained better crops, nearly weed free, and an easier way to tend to the garden in raised boxes you could reach across easily, not so much bending. Better drainage , the soil warms faster, Drip irrigation, and better crop yields per square foot!
So on my birthday that year my hubby started building 9 raised bed planters 6 feet across and 9 feet long filled with 50/50 mix. that’s 50% garden soil, and 50% mulch. Now this is the gift that keeps on giving! The raised beds resulted in our best crop yields ever!
If you don’t have time or space, Costco does sell some pretty good vine ripened tomatoes, or you can find some nice soup worthy tomatoes at your local Farmers Market.
Years ago, we found a recipe in an Amish Cookbook for garden fresh Tomato Soup. This recipe has become one of the things the kids remember the most about summer at home.
Sweet Cream of Tomato Soup
3 medium onions
¼ cup water
½ bunch celery
6 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes quartered
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
8 Tablespoons butter
½ cup Flour
4 Cups Milk, or you can use half Milk and hald Cream
Place the onions and water in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the onions have softened and have begun to turn translucent, but not brown. about ten minutes. Add the celery, tomatoes and salt. To the onions, stir and raise the heat to medium. Cook covered until the tomatoes are tender about 1 hour. Taste.
Notice here I tossed everything into the pot together.. That works too!
Strain the soup, discard the solids
In a small bowl mix together the butter, and flour until thoroughly combined. Simmer a few minutes.
bring the soup to a boil over medium high heat. Stir 1 cup of the soup to the flour and butter mixture, Whisking until there are no lumps.
Then whisk that mixture into the soup. Lower the heat and gently cook, stirring frequently, until the soup has the consistency of a medium thick gravy, about 8 minutes. Let it come just to the boiling point, but do not boil.
Heat the milk in another small saucepan over medium heat until it’s almost at the boiling point. Slowly add the milk to the soup. Do not let the soup boil. Stir well and serve. 8-10 servings
I forgot to picture the milk going in, you’ll have to use your imagination!