Garden Harvest Tomato Soup Recipe

Harvest time is rewarding, but eating homemade soup in the winter is even more rewarding. Making soup from fresh tomatoes is time consuming, but worth it since you know exactly what you are eating and you can pronounce the ingredient list!

I decided to slowly  replace all pre-made soups in my pantry with homemade versions. I have loved Campbell’s cream of tomato soup for my whole life so creating a recipe to replace it was challenging. I played around with some different textures and seasonings and this is by far my favourite concoction. I hope you like it!


12 large ripe tomatoes
1 medium white onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of quinoa (for thickening)
3 tbs butter
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala powder

Preparing the tomatoes:

1. Skin the tomatoes using a hot water bath.
2. Core them, cut them into large wedges, and remove the seeds.
3. Sit the wedges in a colander in the sink to drain off the excess water. Right before I use them I give them a few presses with my palm to squish more water out. (if you want to keep the juice to use later then put a bowl under the colander)


1. Put the tomato wedges into a blender and puree them. Put the puree in a large pot and set it aside.

2. Take 1  1/2 cups of the tomato puree and 1/2 cup of quinoa and simmer until the quinoa has softened. It should still be liquidy.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, fry 1 medium white onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic in 3 tbs of butter. When browned, put it in the blender.

4. Once the quinoa is softened add it to the blender with the onion mix and puree.

5. Add the onion and quinoa puree to the pot with the tomato puree.

6. Season the soup with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 tbs of sugar, and 1 tsp of garam masala powder.

7. Simmer for 20 minutes.


If you want to freeze the soup for later, let it cool completely and portion it into either freezer bags or wide mouth jars. If you are using a wide mouth jar leave about two inches of airspace at the top of the jar and don’t tighten the lid until it is completely frozen. Leave it in the freezer until you want a nice jar of homemade soup.


2 Times When Canning is a Bad Idea

Canning is the practice of preserving food in jars or cans. Even when it’s in a jar it’s still referred to as canning. This method of preserving food is time-tested and vital to a sustainable homestead.

Anyone can do it, but make sure the fun of it all doesn’t cloud the need to eat a balanced diet and stay practical.

Canning is a bad idea when:

1. When it introduces unneeded sugar into your daily diet. 


Most recipes call for the fruit pieces to soak in a simple syrup until they are consumed. Even the light syrup contains a lot of sugar.

Jams and jellies contain more sugar than fruit.

Sugar preserved fruit is junk food and should be eaten in moderation.


2. When you are canning things you wouldn’t normally eat just because you got a good deal.

You save 100% of the money you don’t spend so ask yourself is this good price is a really a good deal for your household.

It’s ok to walk away from good deals.

It’s ok to walk away from free food.

Canners know that even free food isn’t free once we factor in the other ingredients, our hours of labour, electricity, jars, and new lids each time.

Only can foods you will use. The term “use” could also include giving jars as gifts because you are using them in place of another purchase. Ask yourself if anyone else will eat it, and be realistic, before making food as a gift.

People go off the deep end with canning because it is socially acceptable to overdo and overspend under the guise of frugality and practicality.

Canners need to exercise restraint. Daily. Maybe even hourly. The feeling gleaned from socking food away for later is empowering and exciting so stay strong and never acquire food on a whim or impulse.

When canning is a good idea:

The rest of the time! Canning is a great way to preserve perishable food and reduce our dependence on appliances for food storage.

Read how to start canning your own food here.


What are your rules to live by for canning?

How do you stay calm in the face of an unneeded bargain?

Homemade Tangy Dill Relish

It’s harvest time.  We have been enjoying fresh cucumbers all season, but the time has come to preserve some for the winter months.  Relish has minimal ingredients and requires very little prep so it’s a no-brainer!

FullSizeRender (3)



8 cups of diced cucumbers
2 cups diced onions
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill seed
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
2.5 cups cider vinegar

1/4 cup of sugar (optional)



Prepping the cucumbers:

Wash the cucumbers and cut the ends off.

Dice the cucumbers into tiny squares.

Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over all the chopped cucumbers and put the mixture in a colander to drain for 1 hour. This will draw the water out so it doesn’t dilute the flavours when boiling the mixture. After an hour rinse the salt off the cucumbers and let it drain from the colander while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Directions: FullSizeRender (2)

Add the vinegar and spices into a pot and bring it to a boil.

Mix in the chopped cucumber and onion.

Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Turn heat off and let the relish sit to cool.


If you are canning this recipe, quickly transfer hot relish into hot sterilized jars. Leave a half inch of headspace in jar. Boiling water bath 10 minutes. Seal should pop soon after being removed from the water. Wait 24 hours to test the seal by picking the jar up by the lid. If it stays on then it’s sealed and you can safely tighten the lid ring. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

Fugly Tomato Salsa

When one breaks off an entire branch of a tomato plant they need to think of something to make it right. I would not be able to sleep knowing I stopped 5 innocent tomatoes from fulfilling their destiny.  Luckily I had already picked a bunch of “misfits” earlier that day so they all went into a pot together. This pile of tomatoes looked like something out of a Tim Burton movie.


The yellow tomato broke open when I threw it. A large tomato leaf went down my shirt when picking another tomato. I was sure it was a huge bug so naturally I panicked.

This fugly salsa was an experiment so as I cooked and made adjustments I wrote everything down. I think it was a total success and this will be a new recipe in my rotation. Also, knowing I can use the green and blemished tomatoes for something yummy makes me happy.


8 cups chopped tomatoes (the uglier the better)
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup vinegar (This is if you are planning to can the salsa. If you are eating it right away, I would leave it out as it does change the taste.)
1 tsp salt
1 tbs white granulated sugar
1/4 tsp powdered habanero
1/3 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Prepping the tomatoes:

1. Immerse whole washed tomatoes into boiling water for a few moments until the skin cracks and peels up. Once this happens move the tomato into a waiting bowl of ice water. Peel the rest of the skin off with your fingers.

Since I used 4 different kinds of tomato at various stages of ripening I had to watch the pot to see each tomato peel back. The green ones took a few minutes while the ripe white and red ones were almost instant.

2. Core and remove any blemishes or hard spots.

3. Chop the tomatoes into very small pieces and leave them in a colander to drain water while you prepare the rest of the recipe.


IMG_10131. Chop the onions, peppers, and garlic into very small pieces and put them in a large pot.

2. Add the drained tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, salt, and habanero chili powder to the pot. Add the cilantro now if you plan to use it.

3. Boil for about 20 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid. It will be very liquidy to start off.

4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until you have your desired consistency.

5. Turn the pot off and set it aside to cool. Store the salsa in the refrigerator.


Finished product!



Homemade Dill Pickles

Dill pickles are a staple in my house. Cucumbers are so inexpensive and easy to grow that it’s a shame to buy store bought pickles. Here is the recipe we use. Enjoy!

Ingredients: IMG_1004

6 medium-sized cucumbers
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 tsp pickling salt
4 tsp dill seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)

Prepping the cucumbers:

Wash the cucumbers and cut the ends off.

Cut cucumbers into spears or medallions. I try to make the spears one inch shorter than the height of the pint jar so they sit inside perfectly and you can pack a lot in. If the cucumber is very seedy, I thinly slice off the line of seeds. Medallions should be cut thick.

Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over all the cut pickles and put in a container to stand for 2 hours. This will draw the water out. Drain the water a few times. After two hours rinse the pickles off and rest them on a paper towel to dry.

Making the brine:

Mix 2 cups of water, 2 cups of cider vinegar, 1 tsp of pickling salt to a pot. While this is coming to a boil start prepping the jars.

Prepping the jars:

Use 4 hot sterilized pint (500 ml) jars. Inside each jar put 1 tsp of dill seeds, 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, and a clove of garlic. If you want spicy pickles add 1/4 tsp of chili pepper flakes per jar.

Fill each jar with the cucumbers. Make sure there is a one inch space at the top.

Pickle the cucumbers:

Add the boiling brine to the jar as soon as possible so the jar doesn’t cool down. Leave a half inch head space at the top of the jar. Quickly put on the sterilized lids. Hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let stand 12 hours before tightening the lid ring.

Leave them to sit in a cool dark place for at least a couple of weeks.



Orange Cinnamon Marmalade

Marmalade does not get the love it deserves. I think people put it in the same category as fruit cake. Yuck…no thanks!

Give this marmalade a chance and you won’t regret it. The tiny pieces of rind are like little flavour explosions in your mouth.

This recipe makes about 1,500 ml of marmale (3 pint jars) with a little leftover to keep in the fridge.


3 large oranges
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
4.5 cups white granulated sugar (don’t reduce the amount of sugar or it won’t firm up)
3 cups water
3 tsp lemon juice
1 package of liquid pectin


Wash and peel the oranges. (set the peels aside for now)

Remove as much of the white pith from the orange as you can.

Separate the orange into segments to look for and remove any seeds.


Put the segments of all 3 oranges and 3 cups of water into the blender and puree it.

Pour the puree into a pot and leave it there while you chop the rind into tiny pieces. If the rind’s white pith is thick then carefully remove it with a sharp knife.

Add the rind bits and cinnamon into the puree and cook it on medium heat for 15 minutes or until the rind softens a bit.

Add, stir, and dissolve one cup of sugar to the pot at a time until you have added all 4.5 cups.

Bring the mixture to a hard boil stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and stir in the 3 tsp lemon juice right at the end.

Pour the hot marmalade into hot sterilized jars. Remove any air bubbles. Hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let stand 24 hours before tightening lid rings.