Learning How to Make Homemade Tomato Soup from Tomato Juice
As dear hubby told me his story about making tomato soup with his mother, I could not help but giggle. With a young child’s eyes and excitement about this recipe, I pictured him as a little boy again. Please note that this story and the writing of this post is mostly his. It is written only with a bit of help from me, and I could not have told the story any better!
A Homemade Tomato Soup Story
As a kid growing up in central lower Michigan, I have fond memories of helping my mother make homemade tomato soup. For me, you see, it was a chance to bond with my mother and create a creamy, delicious soup for lunch that was simple and easy to make. With ingredients we always had on hand, tomato juice, baking soda, a little butter, and some milk, we could have excellent creamy soup in minutes to eat with egg salad or even a grilled cheese sandwich.
My job was stirring the simmering tomato juice while my mother slowly added the baking soda. Now comes the science experiment. If you have ever added baking soda to a dish of vinegar, you know that it violently erupts!
These two simple items have been used for years by teachers to demonstrate acids and bases’ interaction. You learn that acids have a low pH, and bases have a high pH. When combined, there is a “must be witnessed to appreciate spectacular reaction” that occurs. You can even use it to make volcanos that inspire a “do it again” plea from a little brother or sister.
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So back to the soup.
Tomato juice naturally is acidic, so when adding the baking soda, it foams up in the pan. Note, to take care to use a high-sided pan to keep up with the foam rising, and add the baking soda slowly, constantly stirring as you do it.
The reason to use baking soda is to neutralize the acid in the tomato juice to prevent the milk from curdling when you add it in the final step.
Nobody wants to eat soup that has curds floating in it. The ratio of juice to baking soda is most critical because too little means that you will have curds, and too much will leave a soda-y taste.
As an adult, I have made this delicious soup many times and always need to measure the baking soda to prevent the less than satisfactory results. Depending on the brand of juice used (because all tomato juices have varying acidity levels), I have determined that approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of tomato juice is the perfect amount to add, albeit through trial and error. (See the kitchen notes in the recipe card below.)
I guess I was not as good as my mother, but hey, we can only aspire to be that good.
Once the foam settles with constant stirring, add the butter to the soup and continue to stir. After a couple of minutes, add the milk and a dash of salt and pepper, then continue to heat until ready to serve. This creamy tomato soup will keep in the refrigerator for days, so do not worry if you make too much.
It’s all about what you have on hand.
Many homemade tomato soup variations will include using heavy cream for more creamy richness or adding basil for a tasty tomato basil soup. But it all depends on what you have in your pantry when you are making it.
This homemade tomato soup using tomato juice is very affordable at less than half the canned soup cost. Shucks, when I was a kid, I did not even know they made canned tomato soup. For me, it was a secret recipe that my mother had in her head. A recipe that she probably came by from her mother.
Wherever it came from, please give it a try, and see if it becomes your “Secret Recipe.”
Picture how to make homemade tomato soup from tomato juice step-by-step...
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We hope you enjoy making this homemade tomato soup recipe and the “Secret Recipe” for it!
Have fun making this easy soup, and maybe even getting a little help from the children at your house!
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Learn how to adjust the serving size, CLICK HERE
How to Make Homemade Tomato Soup from Tomato Juice
- Large Saucepan
- Utensils (Measuring Cups & Spoons, Whisk or Large Spoon, Ladle)
- 4 cups tomato Juice
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda *+/- up to 2 teaspoons of soda. See footnote below.
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 2 cups Whole Milk
- Add the tomato juice into a large or high-sided saucepan, bringing it to a high-simmer over medium-low heat.
- Slowly add the baking soda, whisking in a little to a time, constantly stirring as you do it.*
- When the foam settles with constant stirring, add the butter, continuing to stir until melted. 
- Add the milk and a dash of salt and pepper, continue to simmer until ready to serve.
Recipe Card powered by WP Recipe Maker
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