A dish like tomato soup depends on excellent tomatoes as its key ingredient. With so many varieties out there it’s tricky to pick the best one. But the debate isn’t so much canned vs fresh or type – but quality.
The best tomatoes for tomato soup are quality ripe tomatoes like the plum varieties Roma or San Marzano. Cherry tomatoes are good choices if you like a sweeter soup. If you can’t get good fresh tomatoes then use canned San Marzano.
Fresh tomatoes should be roasted with onions and herbs before blending to maximize flavor. Also adding several sun-dried tomatoes will also give the best rich tomato flavor.
Generally, homegrown tomatoes have the best flavor as they are picked perfectly ripe so spend maximum time on the vine. Bought tomatoes are picked off the vine early so they ripen while being transported which can dull the taste. Buying tomatoes is obvious much more convenient – ones locally grown are best.
Tomato soup is a basic dish, so if one of your ingredients is on the weaker side, you’ll probably taste it. Follow my tips in this article to make the best tomato soup.
What Tomatoes To Use For Tomato Soup?
The best tomatoes for tomato soup are homegrown. That freshly picked sun-ripened flavor is impossible to replicate.
However, not everyone has access to homegrown tomatoes. Maybe it is the wrong season, perhaps you don’t have space, or you don’t have time. Thus, for those headed to the farmers’ markets and grocery stores, it’s important to know what to choose.
If you want to know what tomatoes to use in other dishes like burgers, salsa, and salads then see my post on what tomatoes are best for different recipes.
Plum Tomatoes For Tomato Soup
Plum tomatoes are dense and flavorful with low water content. Their meaty flesh makes them an excellent choice for soup. This is why they are known as “sauce” or “paste” tomatoes, as they do well in processing. Where your typical sliced tomato for sandwiches and burgers will typically result in more watery and tasteless soups and sauces.
Plum is also an excellent choice if you detest skinning and deseeding tomatoes. Their skin and seeds are typically tossed in without the extra hassle. They are also brilliant when roasted first before turning into soup.
Some people are blessed with choice. Thus, if your area has options, here are some excellent plum choices for your tomatoes soup.
Roma Tomatoes (Plum)
You can’t go wrong with some quality Roma tomatoes, sometimes known as ‘Italian plum tomatoes’ around the world.
Roma is one of the most well-known plum tomatoes, to the point where people think Roma is a separate category, such as beefsteak and cherry. Remember, all Roma tomatoes are plum, but not all plum tomatoes are Roma. These little things do brilliantly when roasted, making a tasty soup.
San Marzano Tomatoes (Plum)
Get your hands on some San Marzano for a truly authentic Italian touch. This long and thin plum tomato is rich in flavor with low acidity. Like champagne and sparklingly wine, genuine San Marzano only come from a particular area in Italy near Naples so are pricey. However, the growing area has spread, so “lower grade” can be found elsewhere.
Not only does San Marzano taste amazing, but they have fewer seeds. So, if you don’t want to deseed tomatoes but wish there were less in your soup, these are the ones to find. But unfortunately, for many folks, the only way to get them in your area is to grow your own or buy canned. Canned are still great.
Cherry Tomatoes For Tomato Soup
Cherry tomatoes can make excellent tomato soup as they are small and sweet which makes a slightly different tasting soup. Try to buy them on the vine if possible. You want to select firm cherries with deep color.
Like plum, cherry generally is left with their seeds and skins. They also gain beautiful flavor when roasting them before being blitzed into soup. But you can toss them into the pot raw and cook them up if that’s your preference.
Beefsteak Tomatoes For Tomato Soup
Larger tomatoes tend to make lighter soups, which can be preferred in warmer months. But some are also packed with flavor.
With your bigger tomatoes, you’ll probably want to peel and core them. Coring them will not only get rid of the seeds but spare you some of the extra water that can sabotage your flavor intensity.
Canned Tomatoes For Tomato Soup
If good quality ripe tomatoes aren’t available, like in the winter, then go for canned. Good-quality canned tomatoes use ripe tomatoes which are canned straight away off the vine so will taste great providing you buy a good brand. I wrote in-depth on fresh vs canned tomatoes.
Not all canned tomatoes are equal. Some are pretty watery. Look for whole plum tomatoes rather than diced. If you can find San Marzano or another plum variety, even better. If it turns out your canned tomatoes are more watery than anticipated, don’t panic. Use some tomato paste to thicken it up.
Using canned tomatoes also requires no roasting as you just simmer with the other ingredients. So this makes it simple and quick if that is your thing. Canned tomatoes can taste a bit metallic sometimes, learn from my article about ways to sweeten canned tomatoes.
Is Tomato Soup Better With Canned Or Fresh Tomatoes?
Fresh tomatoes of good quality will be more flavorful than canned, especially when roasted first. But buying good tomatoes isn’t always possible, like when it’s out of season. A quality canned tomato is better than a tasteless fresh one.
In a perfect world, “fresh is best.” But when tomatoes are out of season in your area, they have to be transported long distances. This means they need to be picked early so they don’t ripen too quickly – this means less flavor. Try and buy tomatoes advertised as “vine-ripened” instead.
So, while fresh can be brilliant, sometimes it isn’t possible or the best choice. Just arm yourself with a quality can of plum tomatoes and a fantastic recipe if need be.
Do You Have To Peel Tomatoes For Soup?
You don’t have to peel tomatoes for soup. However, you can opt to peel for a smoother soup when cooking with thick-skinned tomatoes. A quicker alternative is to sieve the soup at the end for extra smoothness.
The easiest method to peel tomatoes is to blanch them in boiling water first so their skins shrivel and pull away from the flesh. Then it is much easier to pluck the skins off.
Do You Remove Seeds From Tomatoes When Making Soup?
Removing seeds from tomatoes isn’t necessary when making tomato soup but it does make a smoother soup. Like with the skins, you can choose to sieve the soup after it is blended if you like it smooth.
Some people don’t like the way seeds add texture to tomato soup. Others claim it adds a bitter edge. If you use bigger tomatoes, coring them is probably necessary to rid them of excess water. When using plum or cherry, however, deseeding them can be a real pain. Thus, you might just want to invest in a strainer with tiny holes to help rid your soup of the seeds further on in the cooking process.
How Do You Deepen The Taste Of Tomato Soup?
If using fresh tomatoes, roast them first with onion and herbs to deepen the taste. Adding a few sun-dried tomatoes before blending also adds depth.
Roasting first and using sun-dried tomatoes gives more concentration to the tomato flavor. Tomato soup can gain richness with the addition of stock, butter, and cream for a more luxurious meal.
For those avoiding dairy, look into using full-fat coconut cream.
Why Is My Tomato Soup Stringy?
Stringy tomato soup typically occurs due to the curdling of the milk or cream added. This is because tomatoes have natural acids in them so the soup is very acidic.
There are two ways to help prevent this from happening. First, add a touch of baking soda to your tomatoes to help take the edge off the acid. The second is to temper the cream before adding it to the soup.
To temper the cream, take a spoonful of soup and stir it into the cream. Stir, then add another spoonful of soup. Do this at least three more times. Once it is all nicely mixed, you can add the whole concoction to the soup.
Tomato soup is a delicious and comforting meal. The real secret is ensuring your main ingredient is high in flavor and lower in water content. Whether fresh or canned, buying plum tomato varieties is the easiest option to get that crucial combo. When using fresh, give them a roast to truly bring out their flavor and add extra body to your soup.
Try this great roasted tomato soup recipe.