Tomato Soup - Can You Tell the Difference? Your Body Can

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Local tomato season has come to an end for most of us, but farmer’s markets in some regions may be selling the last fruits of the vines before the frost comes to remind these members of the solanaceae or nightshades of their annual status.

While fresh tomatoes in the heat of the summer make an excellent burger topping or a simple pasta dish, if you can get your hands on them while we head into the fall, you might consider making a soup. This Heirloom Tomato Soup Recipe from Free Range Club is a great one to consider. Fennel, yogurt, and a plentitude of seasonings make make it a far cry from gazpacho.

Lack of fresh tomatoes in your area might tempt you to substitute with canned tomatoes.  

Dina Eliash Robinson, Editor in Chief at the Free Range Club was quick to remind us to steer away from these processed options. Canned foods in general are known to contain dangerous levels of the endocrine disruptor BPA, with vegetables containing some of the highest amounts. BPA leaches from containers and can linings, enters food and beverages, and, ultimately, gets into people. In fact, “93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in our bodies,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 2009 Consumers Union study found high levels of BPA in 19 different canned foods, with an average amount around 32ppb. From their 2009 press release:

Several animal studies show adverse effects, such as abnormal reproductive development, at exposures of 2.4 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, a dose that could be reached from a person eating one or a few servings daily or an adult daily diet that includes multiple servings of canned foods containing BPA levels comparable to some of the foods Consumer Reports tested.”

Tomatoes, highly acidic, are speculated to leach high amounts of BPA. Robinson also reminds us that the aluminum in canned foods can also pose a danger as it has been linked to Alzheimers and dementia, a debate that has been raging for many many years.    

So, if you can’t find fresh tomatoes, seek out tomatoes canned in glass. Delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2- ½ lbs heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, shapes and sizes (more tomatoes make for a denser soup);

  • 1 small bunch of dark (‘dino’) kale (yielding 4-5 cups of leaves stripped off their spines);

  • ¾ of a medium size red onion;

  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic;

  • 2 stalks of celery;

  • ½ a small to medium fennel bulb with approximately ¼ cup of its thin stalks and dill ‘leaves’ (or ‘hair’) included;

  • 1 cup vegetable broth;

  • ½ cup fresh parsley (or 1+ tablespoon dry parsley);

  • ½ cup fresh basil (or 1+ tablespoon dry basil);

  • ½ teaspoon sweet red paprika;

  • 1/3 teaspoon powdered Turmeric;

  • a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste;

  • ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger;

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce;

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil;

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar;

  • 1 tablespoon honey;

  • 1 whole egg;

  • ½ – ¾ cup plain goat yogurt;

  • 8 – 10 cups of bottled spring water—to be added to as needed.

Directions:

(It’s best to chop and prepare all the ingredients before starting to cook, using separate bowls or other containers for each ingredient. Add ingredients in the order indicated below.)

  • Cover bottom of big soup pot with olive oil;

  • Chop and add onion and sauté on low heat until onion turns glassy;

  • Chop, add and sauté garlic for 6-8 seconds;

  • Chop, add and sauté heirloom tomatoes (skin-on to maximize Lycopene content);

  • Strip kale leaves off their hard spines, shred by hand about 2-3 cups, add to above, mix well;

  • Chop and add fennel ½ bulb, strip dill and chop with the thin stalks and add to above;

  • Chop and add parsley if fresh—if not, add 1+ tablespoon dry parsley to spice mixture below;

  • Chop and add basil leaves if fresh—if not, add 1+ tablespoon dry basil to spice mixture below;

  • Add cup of vegetable broth;

  • Add Worcestershire sauce;

  • Turn heat down, cover pot & simmer;

  • In a saucer, mix the spices (i.e. ½ teaspoon sweet red paprika, 1/3 teaspoon powdered Turmeric, a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger), and dry parsley and basil if used instead of fresh—add and mix well into ingredients in the pot;

  • Keep mixing and simmering for 1 minute;

  • Add spring water—less for a thick soup, more if you prefer thinner broth;

  • Cover and simmer until hard ingredients have disintegrated (add water to replace whatever has cooked off or evaporated);

  • In a cup, mix well the ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey until latter is absorbed in the vinegar and add to pot, mixing it in thoroughly;

  • When ingredients have become soft, turn off cooktop, keep pot covered with tight-fitting lid until soup stopped simmering and has begun to cool down;

  • Whip up the (whole) egg with the ½ – ¾ cup plain goat yogurt and drizzle slowly into soup to avoid curdling;

Leave pot uncovered. Soup is ready to eat. Refrigerate what is left—it will keep fresh and become increasingly flavorful for 12 – 14 days.

Sources:

Read all articles by Juniper Briggs

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