“Soup Tomatoes” was an unknown term to me until a few years back, when I asked a vendor at the Festhalle what variety of tomatoes she was selling, and she responded “soup tomatoes.” Soon enough I found out that those were specially priced tomatoes for home canning, not a particular variety of tomatoes intended for soup. Now we look forward to the arrival of soup tomatoes every year.
Why? These are really just tomatoes that have an odd shape or blemish of some variety. They won’t fetch the premium price of perfect slicing tomatoes, which can go for as much as a buck a pound. Used for canning, prettiness is second to taste, and since none of these will ever live to the entrance age of Miss America Tomato, quantity is the key. All tomatoes look the same, after being run through a food mill.
The bottom line to this story is that this twenty five pound box of tomatoes went for ten bucks. All skin flints such as myself immediately see a mental image of a sign that says twenty five cents a pound. Through the food mill they go, and the puree, with salt and fresh basil added, goes into the jars, and gets topped off with some olive oil. Then we have a superior product at about 1/5 of the cost of a commercial one. Forget inflation–don’t worry, be happy, and buy some soup tomatoes.