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Georgia consumer: Specialty tomatoes may raise cooking time
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Question: Can I put some of my “Black Russian” and “Cherokee Purple” tomatoes along with my red tomatoes when I am cooking tomato soup? I like the flavor and juiciness of these dark tomatoes.

Will they change the color of the soup? I don’t know if my family will accept a soup that is not the traditional red.

Answer: Most of the Black Russian and Cherokee Purple tomatoes we grow end up sliced on sandwiches or are eaten fresh with sweet corn, cucumbers, cantaloupes and other summer vegetables. However, we have added up to about 10 percent of these darker varieties with the more common standard red varieties when cooking soup and have not noticed any difference in the soup’s color. We have not tried a higher percentage, because we didn’t have enough to use more.
Also, one caveat about using a large percentage of very juicy tomatoes such as Black Russian and Cherokee Purple in soups and especially in sauces is the increased cooking time to achieve the thickness you desire. The end color being a little darker or not as bright may be minor compared to extra time in the kitchen and a higher utility bill for cooking the soup and cooling the house.

If you have plenty of the darker varieties, or yellow or orange varieties for that matter, you may want to experiment using only them to make soup. It may be different than the standard red, and it may look a little unusual at first, but it will probably taste just as good as what you had with your standard red ones. Your family may love it.

Let us know how your soup turns out.

If you have questions, visit www.agr.georgia.gov, write 19 MLK Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA 30334 or email arty.schronce@agr.georgia.gov.

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