Copy-Cat Campbell’s Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes!

My family gave up Campbell’s soup years ago because of the additives, and then we gave up canned soup altogether when we became more aware of the BPA in the lining of the cans. I make soup from scratch now, and I must admit my children still prefer the flavour of Campbell’s soup to my own soups. While this is disappointing, it must be said that kids LIKE Campbell’s soup. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t spicy and it tastes good. Why fight a losing battle my making soup they won’t eat in the first place? So my next step was to try and copy it, but with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

I started with pure tomatoes and no added water. This year I have had 100+ lbs of my own tomatoes so I am thrilled to use them any way I can. I seasoned with salt, then I added one of my own onions, some celery stocks, and handful of my own fresh basil. After letting simmer for a bit I put the whole lot through a food strainer, then threw in some organic cane sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and presto! I have a healthy version of Campbell’s tomato soup! I then pressure canned it and it is now shelf stable for many months. It can also be served fresh, or it can be frozen.  A quick, healthy lunch is just a jar away! And the best part is, the kids love it. Makes 16 pint sized jars (or 32 servings).

4.5 from 4 reviews
Copy Cat Campbell's Tomato Soup for kids with Fresh Tomatoes!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32
  • 20lb Fresh Tomatoes (Washed, stemmed and halved.)
  • 1 Onion (Peeled and halved.)
  • 6 stalks Celery (Whole.)
  • 5 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 12 leaves Fresh Basil (Including stocks.)
  • ½ cup Organic Cane Sugar
  1. Add tomatoes to a large soup pot and mash with a potato masher to release juices.
  2. Add onion, celery, salt and basil. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Pour through a food mill or food strainer. Alternatively, you can use a fine, wire sieve, pushing the vegetables through the sieve until all that is left are the skins and seeds. Compost the skins and seeds.
  5. Pour soup back into a pot. Bring to almost a boil then turn heat off.
  6. Add sugar and stir well.
  7. Serve fresh or freeze or can the soup.
  8. For canning, pour into prepared jars, wipe rims clean with a clean cloth, add prepared lids and rings and pressure can according to your pressure canner's instructions. My Presto required 11 lb of pressure for 25 minutes for pint jars.
This recipe is made to be canned, but can also be served fresh, or can be frozen. If you want to make it a cream of tomato soup do not can it with milk in it. Add milk to taste when you are reheating. For cream of tomato soup do not bring to a boil: boiling milk will curdle the milk.


To Can or Not To Can? BPA is the question.

With preserving season just around the corner and fresh fruit already arriving for jam, I start, once again, to get that little niggling feeling in the back of my head.  That feeling that tells me that something isn’t quite right, and I don’t have a good answer for it.  I hate that feeling.  I am a problem solver by nature and when I can’t fix a problem I sit and stew about it.  My ongoing problem about preserving is just this: plastic.

By now we all know that BPA is NOT. GOOD.  Bisphenol A is a chemical found in a certain kind of plastic that can leach out of the plastic and into your food.  BPA mimics estrogen and is known to be an endocrin disruptor.  Some countries have banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, and some companies are changing the lining of their cans to not include BPA.

The problem with removing BPA, though, is that it has to be replaced with SOMETHING, and in many cases, a different chemical which is even less studied and could potentially be more dangerous.

A few years ago I learned that canning lids are coated with BPA. This shocked and horrified me.  I searched for a solution but came up with nothing really appropriate.  Tattler sells canning lids that are BPA-free, but what else is in it?  Is it safer or not?  Weck sells glass jars and lids, but not only are the jars very expensive, they are also more difficult to tell if a true seal has been made, leaving botulism and other nasties a remote possibility.  So I gave up.  I continued to can food.  I have hundreds of jars, and many lbs of vegetables to preserve.  But that annoying little feeling continues to bother me.

Some people say that canning is safe because the food doesn’t sit on the inside of the lid, which is the only place that BPA is found.  But when you actually boil your jars, the food bubbles up and boils against the lid, likely plenty long enough to leach out some BPA.  There are NO STUDIES that I have found, that can tell me how much BPA is present in food preserved in a home canning jar compared to a regular aluminum can.  Who is going to do a study on that?  Certainly not the companies selling canning lids!

There are a few other alternatives to canning, and those are freezing and dehydrating.  Freezing generally requires plastic bags (see, plastic again!), especially for items that you would normally can.  Freezing glass jars is a tricky experiment and I have cracked many a jar in the process. Freezing isn’t especially sustainable, either, since a power outage could easily cause mass destruction to the food in your freezer.  Dehydrating is fine, but dehydrated pickles, or salsa, just doesn’t cut it for me…

So I continue to preserve by canning, and I continue to push aside that niggling little feeling.  Until something changes, and we find a better way to preserve our food without the use of any plastic I will still be preserving food in mason jars with BPA canning lids.  And I will HOPE that because the surface value of the lid is so much less than the surface value of aluminum canned food, that the amount of BPA that has leached into the food is minimal.  Maybe someday someone will test glass-canned food and see how much BPA is present.

I would love to hear your opinions on the matter, how you preserve your food and why you choose that method.  Do you think BPA in canning lids is a very real issue?  Why or why not?

This post has been shared on TheMorrisTribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival 13