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Easy tomato soup tastes like the Big Tomato

Recipe: Fresh tomato soup uses only five ingredients

This fresh tomato soup captures the peak flavor of ripe tomatoes and is easy to make.

This fresh tomato soup captures the peak flavor of ripe tomatoes and is easy to make. Debbie Arrington

What’s more Sacramentan than tomato soup? We didn’t get our Big Tomato nickname for nothing.

For generations, Campbell Soup made its famous tomato soup right here, using locally grown tomatoes.

And soup is an ideal use for late-season, really ripe, really juicy tomatoes; they’re packed with so much juice, this soup barely needs any extra liquid.

Fresh tomato soup requires very little seasoning; just a few dashes of garlic salt to complement the natural sweetness of the tomatoes. The food processor, blender or food mill makes it nice and smooth; no advance peeling necessary.

Fresh tomato soup

Makes 2 large bowls or 4 cups

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

½ cup onion, finely chopped

4 cups tomatoes, chopped

¼ to 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

½ cup water

Instructions:

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Over medium heat, saute onion until soft.

Add chopped tomatoes including any juice. Sprinkle with garlic salt and stir. Cover pan and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are very, very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes.

In a food processor, blender or food mill, process tomato mixture until smooth. Return tomato mixture to pan and add water (a little more if needed).

Warm soup until it just starts to boil. Serve immediately.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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